Dining Outside at Broma

Spanish octopus in chili glaze at Broma.
Spanish octopus in chili glaze at Broma.

To the mix of amphitheater, movieplex and Google headquarters on this stretch of North Shoreline Boulevard in Mountain View came a swank new hotel last year.

In June, that property, the 200-room Shashi Hotel, positioned itself as even more of a destination when it opened its restaurant, Broma, with Chief Culinary Director Jarad Gallagher, formerly of Michelin-starred Chez TJ in Mountain View, and Executive Chef Aubree Arndt, formerly of Loma Brewing Company in Los Gatos.

This is the first restaurant by the Shashi Group, which also owns the Aloft hotels in the South Bay and The Nest boutique hotel in Palo Alto.

Last year, the Shashi Hotel opened its Emerald Hour bar and cocktail lounge. Still to come are a coffee shop called Carte Blanche, and a fine-dining restaurant, Belle Terra.

Executive Chef Aubrey Arndt.
Executive Chef Aubrey Arndt.

Last week, I had a chance to check out Broma, its Spanish-Portuguese restaurant, when I was invited in as a guest.

You can choose to dine indoors in a warm, wood-accented space with sleek glass fireplace, and floor-to-ceiling doors that open completely. Or you can dine outdoors at tables right by the pool, which make you feel as if you’re on vacation.

Broma's dining room.
Broma’s dining room.
The outdoor dining tables are right by the pool.
The outdoor dining tables are right by the pool.

Add to that mood with a refreshing G&T ($16), made with St. George Botaniovore Gin, cinchona bark syrup, lemon elderflower tincture, and Fever Tree Indian Tonic, and served in a goblet over ice with a lemon wheel and juniper berries. It’s the perfect drink by the pool — even if you’re not going in for a dunk.

Quench your thirst with a G&T.
Quench your thirst with a G&T.

The menu offers options for a la carte dining, as well as a 3-course prix fixe for $76 that lets you choose from among the entire menu of dishes, and a $120-per-person Broma Experience (minimum 2 people) that essentially lets the chef cook for you.

We went with the a la carte option, with Arndt adding in a few dishes here and there to try.

Duck liver mousse with black pepper plum compote.
Duck liver mousse with black pepper plum compote.
Oysters on the half shell.
Oysters on the half shell.
Lamb meatballs.
Lamb meatballs.

The duck liver mousse ($18) brings crusty baguette and black pepper plum compote along with the smooth, creamy mousse in a glass. It’s rich tasting, so it’s an ideal nosh to share. So, too, are the tender lamb meatballs ($15) covered in a smoky paprika sauce.

Croquetas de Pollo e Manchego ($12) are breaded, fried croquettes stuffed to the gills with tender, shredded chicken tinga. The croquettes, arranged on a bed of Salvadoran slaw, get draped with guajillo pepper paste and a paper-thin slice of jamon Iberico. These two-bite wonders are crusty, smoky, and a little spicy — everything you want in a cocktail nibble.

Chicken croquetas.
Chicken croquetas.

Half a dozen oysters ($24) go down easy with mignonette and cocktail sauces, while papas arrugadas ($10) offers up something different from the usual patatas bravas. Instead of being fried, these creamy little potatoes are boiled in salt, then doused in a lively mojo verde.

Potatoes mojo verde.
Potatoes mojo verde.

Shishito peppers ($12) also get a clever redo. They’re not just sauteed here, but paired with sweet slices of fresh summer plums and cucumbers, as well as a swoosh of earthy, chocolatey mole sauce for an inspired combination of fresh and lively, and deeply developed.

Shishito peppers in mole.
Shishito peppers in mole.

Plums also star in a lovely dish of hamachi crudo ($20), arrayed with avocado, kumquat puree, sea beans, and salmon roe. The plums offer up an almost ume-like accent, but one that’s brighter tasting.

The beautiful hamachi crudo.
The beautiful hamachi crudo.

A leg of Redondo Iglesias jamon de Serrano ($17), which is on display near the kitchen gets sliced super thin and shingled with juicy, sweet cantaloupe for a classic pairing that never goes out of style.

Melon and jamon.
Melon and jamon.

Smoky and tender Spanish octopus ($24) gets a sweet-spicy chili glaze and garnishes of fresh charred corn and sweet tomato.

For mains, the black bass pipirrana ($30) arrives with golden, crisp skin and flaky, moist flesh atop thick, creamy, tangy labneh (strained yogurt) and bulgur for a perfect Mediterranean repast.

Black bass with labneh.
Black bass with labneh.
A fabulous skirt steak.
A fabulous skirt steak.

My husband couldn’t stop thinking about how sublime the Schmitz Ranch skirt steak ($36) was — even a day later. I can’t blame him, because it possessed a robust beefiness and big jolt of umami like that of Worcestershire sauce. Mojo pican, a spicy, garlicky red pepper sauce lay underneath the big slab of meat with visible grain, adding just a hint of heat while still letting the natural flavor of the meat shine.

Tiny tarts, crema Catalana, and chocolate mousse.
Tiny tarts, crema Catalana, and chocolate mousse.

For dessert, Arndt brought out a sampler board: tiny tarts filled with zingy passion fruit cream, and pistachio praline with ginger. There was also glasses of fluffly Valrhona Manjari mousse with candied pecans and a sprinkle of sea salt; and crema Catalana ($12) with fresh fruit adorning its bronzed, bruleed top that you just can’t wait to break into.

For a restaurant whose name in Spanish means “joke,” Broma definitely delivers on the fun.

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