Forthright Serves Up Righteous Food
When two girlfriends and I recently dined at Forthright in Campbell to celebrate a birthday, we couldn’t help but notice that most of the parties there were all-female.
But then again, we women know a good thing when we see — and taste it.
And Forthright definitely makes for a great gals’ night out.
It’s the latest restaurant by long-time South Bay Chef Jim Stump, who also owns The Table in San Jose, The Vesper bar in Campbell, and Stumpy’s in San Jose. It takes the place of the old Hawg’s Seafood Bar.
It has a lot than appeals to the feminine side — great cocktails, a healthy-ish sensibility with all the fresh seafood, and just a little bit of naughtiness with a few guilty-pleasure dishes.
We paid our own tab, but Stump, whom I’ve interviewed many times over the years, and who can be found cooking on the line fairly regularly there, sent out a couple extra dishes.
While my gal pals enjoyed sparkling rose, I went for the “Jacques & Jill” ($10) an invigorating blend of Ford’s gin, lime, simple syrup and Pernod. It’s a wonderful bracing sip on a summer night when you plan to enjoy a few oysters.
There’s usually about 11 different oysters on the half shell offered nightly ($2 to $3.75 each). We enjoyed three types: the briny-yeasty Beau Soleil from New Brunswick; BC, Coromandel from Coromandel Bay with its clean cucumber note, NZ; and an ever-favorite, the petite and sweet Kumamoto from Humbolt Bay, CA. They arrived on ice on a big platter with mignonette, cocktail and horseradish sauces. It’s a perfect way to start a meal here.
The warm Acme epi baguette, replenished during the night at your table comes with soft ricotta to spread on thick. You won’t be able to resist.
One of my friends had never had a Scotch egg ($9) before, so we had to indulge in the one here. This one is wrapped in chorizo, giving it a notch of spice, before being fried to a deep crunch. The deep orange yolk inside is perfection — still runny to make this pub classic a rather luxurious bite.
Charred Spanish octopus ($15) brings tender pieces of tentacled legs over buttery new potatoes with a piquant green olive tapenade.
Peruvian ceviche ($6) is so refreshing with pieces of fish mixed with sweet potato and corn. Even with the coconut milk, it’s still a very light dish.
Now, the Johnny cakes ($22) definitely are not. They are rich, rich, rich. But there is something so fun and delicious about corn pancakes (kind of like giant blini) smothered in butter-poached lobster with plenty of melty herb mascarpone and salmon caviar. It’s updown meets downtown in breakfast for dinner.
For dessert, the birthday gal chose the warm, ice cream-crowned peach cobbler. And the chef sent out an order of beignets stuffed with caramel. They were puffy, light and everything a good donut should be.
After an evening of great drinks, food and conversation, I’m sure we weren’t the only tables to go home fully satiated.
More Eats from Jim Stump: The Table