Besides our take-out favorites, we’ve had dinner out in restaurants three times.
The mid-peninsula has quite a few open-air dining spots. Three that we’ve hit are:
California Ave, which has shut down to car traffic for the next few weeks. The scene was enjoyable, with the only annoyance being fast-moving bicycles among the walkers in the street. We found most restaurants and most tables full, and finally got down to Cafe Brioche, which is an old favorite, although honestly with all the upgraded food in the last decade, we don’t eat there often. The service was a bit off. As in, they forgot our entree and started serving us a small bite of desert, took 15 minutes for us to actually be able to order, they didn’t deliver our moules and our fries together, the moules were shriveled little things that had clearly spent 30 minutes under the heat lamp. They apologized profusely, and we honestly didn’t care. The clear issue was they seemed to have a family member serving who was forgetful, not to mention the longer walk to the kitchen.
University Ave - Bevri. Also an issue with an under trained server. Also probably part of the family, based on accent, and said she had literally never done any waiting until that night. She was perfectly find and forgot nothing and called over the main fellow when we wanted to talk wine. The kitchen has been doing a lot of takeout though, so all the dishes were as per usual. Our only annoyance was a couple at the next table who were loud and obnoxious. I thought perhaps my sensitivity was high, my partner said “no, they were obnoxious”. I think there will be re-calibrating.
Menlo Park - Refuge. Refuge isn’t really a dining experience, it’s their take out window with two little curbside tables. You’d call it takeout to your curb, but with nicer chairs. You don’t have to worry about getting breathed on by the next table because there’s only one and it’s 10 feet away. You’re also using your takeout “silverware” and such. Since it was right on the sidewalk, there were plenty of people doing “personal exercise” and thus breathing on us - one older woman in a wheelchair smoking a cigarette who just barreled past, inches from us. We like Refuge so much, and it was nice to have the fries fresh, so we may be back.
My understanding is Menlo Park downtown will shut to car traffic soon, probably for this coming weekend. The main drag - with left bank and others - will be fairly hopping, but it’s not as cheek-and-jowl as MV or PA. I don’t know whether Univ. Ave will be blocking off areas soon or not.
What are your stories? Where have you been?