Left Bank, Menlo Park, CA

On Friday, all five of our family went out to Left Bank in Menlo Park for dinner to celebrate Jon’s recent birthday and our return from Florida. Left Bank is a bistro type restaurant with a large open seating area and a bar in front. It was pretty crowded and warm on Friday. We were seated at a large octangonal table which, given how noisy it was, did not promote a lot of conversation except with the person nearest you. This may be an older person problem; the kids seemed to have no trouble hearing each other. The waitstaff appeared promptly to take drink and food orders. We were given an interesting pitcher of water to keep our glasses filled. This was much appreciated since we tend to drink a lot of water.

Ryan ordered prawns with Pernod with garlic and citrus butter and Brussel sprouts with bacon. This was very good and everyone enjoyed dipping pieces of bread in her leftover sauce. Jon said it was quite complex. Sarah had tart Camembert and fondue Savoyarde, a fondue of goat, brie and bleu cheeses. So you could say she had a pretty cheesy dinner. Once again everyone enjoyed dipping pieces of bread in her fondue. Jon had the sausage special which he felt was rather bland. However, Jon likes everything pretty spicy. John had steamed mussels with pommes frites and the Brussel sprouts. This was a really big portion at a very reasonable price. I had sea bass with leek fondue and butter braised potatoes. I ordered the fish rare and, guess what, it was cooked exactly as I had asked. I found the potatoes and leeks a little heavy what with the butter and cream.

All the food was mostly very good and the bill, including two glasses of wine, only came to about $100. It’s not easy to go to a restaurant and get this quantity and quality of food for five people at such a reasonable price.

Pluses – well-cooked and interesting dishes, good service and reasonable prices
Minuses – noisy and warm; some of the dishes were too buttered, baconed or creamed (for me)

Mary – B+
John – A- (John thought his meal was really great but agreed about the noise and the warm)

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