Madera – Menlo Park, CA

Have I mentioned how  blessed I am? I have the most awesome friends who showered me with food for my birthday~ After 2 lunches & 3 dinners, this is my last birthday meal of the year. V wanted to take me somewhere nice and treat me like a queen coz she loves me (her words, honest!). She made reservations for Madera, the signature restaurant of Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel for lunch on a Monday.

Peter Rudolph is the executive chef of Madera worked for different Ritz Carlton restaurants for over a decade before returning to San Francisco. Madera earned its spot on the 2011 Michelin Guide for San Francisco Bay Area, with food featuring local ingredients, “market driven cuisine” as they call it.

The restaurant is quite luxurious yet approachable. Their open kitchen was such eye candy and not to forget the amazing view on their patio.

Actually it is kinda strange when you can stare at people lounging in the pool, but when it is empty… Just the sun, air, hills makes for a nice dining experience. You can’t hear the freeway, eventhough you could kinda see it.

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Menu is short and simple; with a about half a dozen appetisers, salads, sandwiches, entrees and desserts.

There was also a few cocktails and a fairly extensive list for wine by the glass.

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Started with some Focaccia & Sourdough


Both breads were good. Soft centre with a nice crust and quite flavourful on its own. It was served cold, which I found a tad disappointing.

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We ordered:

Alaskan Halibut Ceviche $18

Tomato, Cilantro, Peppers, Avocado, Mango and Halibut

Disappointing. It tasted like a very pedestrian mango avocado salsa with bits of halibut. I was expecting a more elegant interpretation but ended up with something anyone could whip up in their kitchen. Seasoned well with cilantro, lime and salt.

The chips were good. Not greasy and tasted fresh with a hint of sweetness.

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Di Stefano Burrata Salad $16

Roasted beets, Mustard greens, Peaches, Hazelnut-Chardonnay vinaigrette, Candied hazelnuts

I am usually not a fan of beets, but this combination works for me. The creamy burrata was mild and just delicious with the beets and fresh greens.

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Grilled Loche Duarte Salmon $25

Cold soba noodle salad, Carrots, Sugar snap peas, Shiitake mushrooms, Bloomsdale spinach, Soy sesame ginger peanut emulsion

The salmon was cooked very well with a crisped lines on the fish. Odd thing is that there is not char/grill flavours at all. It was fresh, flaky and seasoned well.

The cold soba noodles were strange. It was not very flavourful and there was solidified fat which left an unpleasant coating in my mouth. A little bland as well. The vegetables and emulsion were ok, but not very memorable.

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Pan Roasted Idaho Golden Trout $24

with English pea, Sugar snap pea and Oyster mushroom ragout, Meyer lemon beurre noisette

Very well cooked, with a crispy skin and moist flaky fish. The mushrooms were delicious and added great umami flavour while the sweet snap peas added nice crunch. The disappointment was the underseasoned fish with overwhelmingly tangy sauce.

The sauce was good the first few bites but was a little too sour especially after a few bites, which was too bad because the fish itself and the vegetables were so good.

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Beignets $10

served with Blackberry honey and House made plum preserve

This is the definition of “fluffy as a cloud”. The beignets were airy, soft with a nice shell covered in cinnamon sugar. Amazing way to end the emal. The preserve and honey were nice condiments but I loved the beignets on their own.

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Chilled Rose and Nectarine Soup $10

with Slow roasted peaches, Blackberries and Lemon Verbena sherbet

The sorbet was delicious, tart and very refreshing. the “soup” was warm and quite strange, a tad too sweet and “thick”. I didnt care much for the soup, but appreciate the fresh bits of peach and blackberries.

The white crispy bits were literally inedible. Hard and leathery with no flavours.

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Total Damage: $152 (including tax & tip)

Personal Rating: 3 out of 5 (Above average)

The food ranged from average to good with premium prices. Nothing was terrible nor amazing. It is a tad hard to justify paying that price for a lunch, even with the amazing location/ambiance and service.

The service started a little on the cold side. The hostess looked like she rather be elsewhere and her attitude left a lot to be desired. Our server and the busboys, on the other hand were great. Gracious, attentive without being intrusive and always smiling.

I find it hard to picture this as a one Michelin star meal, it definitely was a one Michelin star location albeit with spotty service. I doubt I will be back for a meal here but the lounge menu is a quite appealing, maybe that?

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Madera

2825 Sand Hill Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025

(650) 561 1540

Madera on Urbanspoon


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