A Visit to Wild Onion in Palo Alto

Fried chicken at Wild Onion in the Hotel Citrine in Palo Alto.
Fried chicken at Wild Onion in the Hotel Citrine in Palo Alto.

In Silicon Valley, corporate tech campuses proliferate.

But now, there’s also an unusual hotel version of that.

Last year, Palo Alto welcomed the Hotel Citrine and the AC Hotel, both T2 Hospitality properties under the Marriott umbrella, and both located on the same San Antonio Road property.

In fact, the side-by-side hotels share a common driveway and valet parking service.

A communal bar table at Wild Onion.
A communal bar table at Wild Onion.

Though it may seem like a head-scratcher at first, it was designed to offer two different experiences on the same footprint. The AC Hotel is done up in a moody, sophisticated neutral palette, while the Hotel Citrine is all bold colors with a carefree California vibe.

My husband half-joked that executives could then stay at the more expensive property while putting up the underlings in the cheaper rooms across the way. A publicist for the hotel also mentioned how the two properties could be used cleverly for a wedding, with the bridal party staying in one hotel and the groom’s party in the other.

Wild Onion's floor-to-ceiling glass doors open out onto the pool area.
Wild Onion’s floor-to-ceiling glass doors open out onto the pool area.

The restaurant Wild Onion is located inside the Hotel Citrine, but also accommodates guests from the AC Hotel, who stroll over.

Last week, I had a chance to explore the menu, when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant. The crowd definitely skews male with plenty of businessmen pushing suitcases and carrying laptops stopping in for a bite to eat or a glass of beer or to watch sports on the big screen behind the bar.

The restaurant has plenty of outdoor seating, both at tables, and at a fire pit. But since the floor-to-ceiling glass doors slide wide open, if you take a nearby seat indoors, it’s practically like eating outdoors.

Deviled eggs done bagel-style.
Deviled eggs done bagel-style.

Deviled eggs ($16) are a fun nosh to start. Think the taste of bagels, with the yolk enriched with cream cheese, sprinkled with “everything bagel” seasoning, and topped with capers and flaked smoked salmon.

The beef bulgogi baos ($16) are clam-shell buns caressing tender sweet, sticky, and slightly spicy beef with a touch of hot mustard in the mix.

Beef bulgogi baos come three to an order.
Beef bulgogi baos come three to an order.

Petaluma fried chicken ($29) comes out on a wooden board with a pile of fries that could have been a little crispier and a small salad of watermelon chunks with feta. The lightly battered chicken was moist, and fairly mild tasting. Bottles of hot sauce and barbecue sauce rev things up, but are a little difficult to get at with their droppers that administer only a drop at a time.

Eye-dropper bottles of sauces.
Eye-dropper bottles of sauces.

The seared Skuna Bay salmon ($31) brings a generous-sized fillet atop a nicely cooked, buttery spring succotash of asparagus, cauliflower, red peppers, carrots, and green beans that were all cooked to perfect al dente.

Salmon with a medley of spring veggies.
Salmon with a medley of spring veggies.

For dessert, we snagged the last slice of chocolate crunch cake. The bottom layer had the light crunchiness of wafer cookies, with the center sporting the melt-in-your-mouth quality of an U-No candy bar.

Chocolate crunch cake with fresh raspberries.
Chocolate crunch cake with fresh raspberries.

Wild Onion is open every day, with the menu we enjoyed available all day, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., making it a good option of business lunches, too.

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