We always have fun strolling down University Avenue in Palo Alto and popping in the interesting upscale shops and enjoying the diverse dining scene. We were pleased to hear that accomplished Executive Chef Ryan Shelton is now working with popular Restaurateur Bruce Schmidt at the his new restaurant on University Avenue, the Palo Alto Grill. Chef Shelton is originally from San Jose and has worked in Europe, Asia, Southern California and returned home to help Baume in Palo Alto earn it’s Michelin Stars. The Palo Alto Grill features ceiling to floor windows, exposed wood beams, brick accents, contemporary artwork, interesting lighting and a Black Granite Bar. There is also sidewalk seating weather permitting and two private dining rooms for mid-sized parties. We were seated at a cozy table near the front window and began reviewing the focused Seasonal Menu which offers locally sourced meats, seafood and produce. Steaks are the main attraction but the small plates are unique and fabulous! All breads and desserts are made in-house as well.
Our first course was the delicious Hot-Cold Yellow Corn Soup with Bell Pepper, Popcorn and Chili. It was very light and just delightful. Next, we tried a few of the Small Plates. We loved the Avocado Corn Dogs with Chipotle Mustard and Cilantro. They were actually quite light and such a creative spin on the corndog of our youth. Just fabulous! Next, we had the Slow Poached Egg with English Pea, Mushroom and Shallot which was absolutely heavenly and one of the most unique dishes we have had in several years! Another excellent choice is the Grilled Japanese Octopus with fingerling potatoes, lemon and basil. The spicy PA Grill Salmon Poke with seaweed, avocado and gochujang is also a must. We could have easily made a meal from the ample sized small plates, however we knew we had to try the steaks. We loved their signature Turf and Turf which was an 11 ounce Ribeye Steak with pastrami, peppercorns and onion. It was a true carnivore’s delight. Another excellent choice is the Pan Seared Southern Gentleman which is an Angus Filet Mignon with bacon, bourbon and mustard greens. We ordered the 12 ounce which was cooked perfectly rare as ordered and came with a fabulous sauce. We always prefer the sauce on the side. There is great seafood as well....our neighbors had the Seared Scallops with Citrus, Butter and Trout Roe and were quite impressed. Our favorite side dish was the fantastic Fried Brussels Sprouts with brown sugar and butter pecans. It was like a sweet dessert.
The Wine List features mostly Northern California and Santa Cruz Mountains wines with 24 available by the glass. Wine Director Tim Augello paired wines for us and helped us find some new favorites. The 2012 Bishop’s Peak, Edna Valley Chardonnay and the 2012 Astrolabe, Marlborough, Sauvignon Blanc paired well with the small plates and the 2009 Cinnabar, Alexander Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon paired perfectly with our steaks.
The desserts prepared in house by Pastry Chef Yoomi Shelton were amazing! We loved both the decadent 64% Chocolate Torte with vanilla, peanut and gelato and the even more decadent Brioche Beignets with milk, strawberries and sugar. The Beignets were the best we’ve had since we were in NOLA. Illy Espressos and a Niepoort 10 year Tawny Port were the perfect ending to our very enjoyable dinner.
The Palo Alto Grill is not your father’s Steakhouse. The atmosphere is casual and relaxed, the service is professional and there is something for everyone including great Steaks, Burgers, Seafood and incredible Small Plates! We look forward to returning for lunch or dinner the next time we are on the Avenue.
Palo Alto Grill
140 University Avenue (at High St.)
Palo Alto, CA. 94301