One of the things that keeps me sane while I’m down on one of my frequent business trips to Cupertino is trying new-to-me restaurants in the area. While I’ve had more ‘misses’ than ‘hits’ over the past 6 months, there have been a few places that I would go back to and recommend. Most of these places are also within a 5 km (or should I say 3 mile) radius of the Cypress Hotel (really nice hotel with great service) – my home away from home.
Rating: Best of Cupertino so far (but probably helps if you have an expense account since it’s a bit $$ for what it is)
This place credits itself as being ‘Japanese and Asian fusion.’ Everything in this town is in a strip mall, so even though it doesn’t look very enticing from the outside, once you go in it has a much better atmosphere than you expect. The black cod skewers were the best part of my meal, along with the free panna cotta dessert they brought by (did I really order that much that they rewarded me with more?). I’d have to say the sushi, although very pricey, was probably at Vancouver standards if you were to hit a decent place like Sakana or Shiro. I did really like the sizzling roasted rice miso soup – basically, they pour it into your bowl at the table and you get to hear it sizzle (not just fun for your palette, but your aural senses too)!
In terms of service, it was a little strange when the very friendly server was being shadowed by another guy the whole time (he said he was there to ‘help’ in addition to the girl already serving me). Not sure what was going on there, but felt a bit like he was trying to impress me and was the owner that couldn’t let go or else was just bored. Maybe she was in training and he was making sure that she got it right? Could be why I got the free dessert too…
Overall, costs a lot for what you’re getting, but hey, if you’re in Cupertino you’re probably down on business anyway.
Rating: All day dim sum – need I say more!
The exciting thing about Loon Wah is that it’s an allll day dim sum place (someone read my mind!) – I haven’t heard of any of these in Vancouver, so please let me know if you have. Sometimes you just get those cravings to try a bunch of different things all at once, and back home I just can’t seem to find this option anytime after 3 pm.
The sticky rice in lotus leaf and the sliced beef tendon (yes, I tend to eat the weird things) were decent, and the cream custard bugs were divine for dessert when they were piping hot. Chicken feet were kind of soggy (but aren’t they all at these places?), and I think I’ll continue to go the home-cooked route for this dish next time. Just watch out for the mini pork buns if you’re expecting them to be consistently filled with a lot of soup – most of them were dry, but there was a random one that happened to shoot out liquid all down the front of a co-worker’s shirt.
On the whole, this place was inexpensive, had all-day variety, and helped me tend to my strange asian-food cravings I get when homesick.
Rating: Don’t bother trying it – I won’t be going back.
Not only was this place overpriced, but it just wasn’t good. At all.
The only thing that made me happy about this meal was the glass of pinot grigio I had – not because the wine was especially good, but I was starving going in and got a slight buzz out of it.
I had the Scampi Saltati for my main – I’m not even sure how to describe this. It had some prawns in it which were fairly large but overcooked and some spinach and basil and and Dungeness crab polenta in a cream white wine sauce – the whole mixture somehow tasted overdone and like it had come out of the freezer. Then, I got the Warm Apple Strudel for dessert (give me anything with ice cream, and I’m there). The portion was massive, but I just couldn’t get over how it tasted like it came from a box at the supermarket with some caramel squeezed from a bottle over top.
Overall, it just felt like I wasted a whole meal that could’ve been purchased at the grocery store at a fifth of the price.
Not sure who might find this useful, but maybe some of my fellow ‘road warrior’ co-workers and tech friends and acquaintances that venture down to Silicon Valley will thank me some day.
Keep an eye out – I’ll continue to add to this list of Cupertino restaurants in future posts…