Left Bank (Menlo Park)

Left Bank is a small “chain” (3 locations) of French inspired brasseries with typical french classics. We recently visited the Menlo Park location and even though it might be not the most creative/innovative cooking but all dishes were surprisingly good executed and very enjoyable. Only minor issue was that they also had a larger party upstairs which at times clearly overwhelmed the kitchen and dishes came out sometimes quite slow which was actually great for us as we really liked slow paced dinners but it was obvious that other tables weren’t as happy about it. Their classical cocktails were also quite good, in particular the Last Word was very good and well balanced.

Tarte Flambee - classic interpretation- very well made (only it could have been a but warmer)

Steak Tartare - again classic interpretation with a right balance between mustard, capers and shallots

Salade Lyonnaise - not overdressed like it is often in restaurants, good lardons and perfectly poached egg

Steak Frites - very tender skirt steak cooked indeed to medium-rare, good fries

House made grilled sausage with pickled vegetables and truffle fries - good snap and seasoning on the sausage

Beef Bourguignon - stews can be sometimes disappointing in restaurants as the meat can get tough cooking/simmering throughout the service but this version was one of the highlights of the evening with tender meat and a impressive complex sauce.

Fondant au chocolat - classical lava cake

Tarte au Citron - well executed


Left Bank is in reasonable rotation here. They have live music, a small combo doing jazz standards, on Fridays. They have a lot of outdoor seating. The indoor bar is very pleasant in the afternoon. The cocktails aren’t brilliant but they are usually correctly made. The place has a long history in mp of doing fun stuff and events.

The food goes up and down a bit. Right before pandemic they had taken out a lot of menu items requiring more time and care, assuming because of staffing problems. Some of those, like the borginon, are back. The front of house service is about like most peninsula places, struggling a bit with people new to the biz.

You chose many of our favorite dishes. We get the salad niçoise a lot, and the French onion soup, as well. Had the oysters last week, too.

Oddly, there is a french place next door, Bistro Vida, which is entirely in competition, and also in exactly the same mold. We flip back and forth between the two of them. For a long time, the food at lb was better, but on the last year, vida has taken the edge. More personal touch, the owner is often there hovering. Cocktails are always better there.

With both taking huge chunks of the street, reservations are never required, so i would recommend checking the menu in both, and pick one. Vida is open 30 minutes later, which sometimes makes our decision for us.

Also - cafe borrone, a short walk, was always tops for a similar style dinner, but it seems they are not restarting dinner service - closing at 7 - long before our usual dinner hour. We will see, as the weather warms, what the owners decide. Although they do slightly different styles, i prefer the food at borrone to either of the French places. When they have music, borrone’s all stars are something special - a long running 6 to 8 piece that does trad jazz, often with a mix of oldsters and local kids - that really tears it up.

Thanks for the writeup and pictures!


That salad Nicoise at LB was my go to dish for years. When they first opened it was the hot spot in MP and we celebrated birthdays and graduation’s there. Haven’t been in years. We did go to Bistro Vida right before Covid hit with a group of friends. Food is decent and the owner is a very nice guy. And Borrone’s was were I met friends for lunch for a long time. It’s funny that lots of my friends that have lived and grown up in MP/Atherton love Carpaccio’s. Definitely old school. There was a Thai place across the street we loved (Siam Garden’s) wish there was still good Thai in the area.

6 posts were split to a new topic: Thai around Menlo Park

Aaarrrgggh, you are torturing me :yum:

I can’t begin to describe how sad we are that owner/chef Roland Passot closed his La Folie in SF. It was literally the only destination restaurant remaining that we would drive into the city to eat at!

So happy to hear that you guys like his Left Bank bistros. I have always wondered how good they are but few folks ever reported on them. Thx for posting all those lovely photos.

I don’t suppose his iconic Edam cheese souffle made it onto the LB menus? One of the most stunning desserts ever…

Agree, I loved La Folie