Three Restaurant and Bar
50 East Third Avenue
San Mateo, CA 94401
Why did we dine here? – Three Restaurant and Bar used to known as Astaria, but morphed in the summer of 2013. More casual, small plates, food to share. A concept that we have to agree is more attractive. They use products from sustainable farms and ranches and have kept some of the old favorites. Food gets served as it is ready. Our last visit was in 2015. Three is located next door to the Entrepreneur focused Draper University. They also share their bathroom, so chit chat with future bigwigs.
Insider Tip – Happy Hour 7 days a week, all day on Monday.
Cuisine – American, Tapas
Location – San Mateo Downtown
Opened – 2013
Service – Three Restaurant and Bar was adequate but not great. Pretty casual service to go with the food. It was even worse on our 2013 visit, with them clearly trying to improve it in our last 2 meals in 2015. They forgot our drink again.
Verdict – Three Restaurant and Bar serves up solid American food in a nice atmosphere. Give it a try if you are nearby. We like the change. A great place to bring larger parties to share all the small plates.
Three Restaurant and Bar Signature Dishes – Bacon Bitz, Wings, Ho Hos, Onion Soup, Fried Chicken, Steamers
Three Restaurant and Bar’s Menu has lots of new dishes along with some Astaria Favorites.
Three Restaurant and Bar Food Picks:
Strawberry Mojito ($12) was tall and pretty strong. Not too sweet or fruity, so not a lot of foo foo ness. The Pineapple Mojito ($9) in 2014 with house infused pineapple Bacardi rum, mint, lime, and soda was much better, but full of ice.
Umberto’s Inferno ($11) was added back to the menu in 2014. Yes! A fun fiery starter that everyone should order once.
Panfried gruyere cheese ‘flambé’ table side is one of their popular appetizers. The entire restaurant stops for a moment to watch the craziness. Brandy fuels the fire on top of this sizzling cheese. The fried gruyere has pungent odors, a nice crust and some fresh squeezed lime juice rounded out. The area around the event, smells for a while thereafter.
Bacon bitz Chipotle maple glaze ($8 for 6) was fatty and had a slightly spicy glaze. 6 pieces of Wonderful artery clogging!
September Special Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Salad ($10) herbed goat cheese, and chipotle florentine had a nice sweet savory interplay. Refreshing during those warm summer/fall days. Accented with a chocolate crisp wafer.
Seafood Risotto ($18 small) Prawns, calamari, clams, mussels, pacific coast cod was done well. Adequate size, good flavors and lots of shellfish.
Parmesan Risotto ($4) was a nice compact bowl of rich risotto topped with a shave of cheese. Any more and it might have been too heavy.
Brown Buttered Beet & Citrus Salad ($13 large) marcona almonds, goat cheese was a good size salad with a mild flavor profile. Crisp beets were a nice touch. Dressing was on the lighter side.
Sesame Salmon Bites ($11 small) unagi glaze, pickled cucumber slaw looked great and tasted great. Crispy top, good quality fish. It would even better if cooked to 70%.
Steak & Shroom Carpaccio ($9) mushroom, jarlsberg horseradish cream had a ton of mushrooms on top. A good starter who like raw beef and mushrooms.
Lamb Kabob ($8.5 small) yogurt-mint salsa verde had 3 under spiced kabobs. Meat was fine, sauce was weak.
Hot chicken wings ($9 for 5) had a great blue cheese dip that tasted ‘real’. Really hot spicy wings.
3 Grind Burger ($11) was a pretty decent burger, served pre cut in half. Blend of brisket, short rib, & sirloin. They asked how we wanted it done, the meat tasted better than average as did the bun. Lots of tomatoes and lettuce too.
Steamers Mussels or Clams (Or a mixture of them) garlic-red wine bath ($22) is a good dish to share. Lots of mussels and some nice bread for dipping in the excellent broth.
Buttermilk Brined Boneless Organic Fried Chicken, savory chicken jus (dark meat) ($15/25) is a MUST order. Wow was it good. Juicy, crispy, eggless batter. If would be even better if they added some more spices to the meat first. The large is enough for 5 people. Be sure to get it with the mash potatoes and savory chicken gravy.
Braised Short Rib Bourguignon ($19 small) with fresh cracked pepper pappardelle, horseradish creme sauce was surprisingly good. Fall off the bone tender meat with good flavor. 2015 seasonal special.
Coffee-Chili Rubbed NY Strip “STRIP”, chimichurri sauce, herb salad, shoestring fries ($16) is good for carnivores. A nice glazed sauce ontop of precut steak.
Veggies ($4) were much improved in 2014. Larger quantities with beans, carrots, and more. This is a necessity with all the deep fried goodness here.
Salted Carmel Macchiato Demi ($5) had a cute creamy individual dessert full of rich and sweet decadent pudding. Nicely done.
Ho HO ($3) was fun and very chocolatey. A cheap treat that is worth ordering.
Baked Mini Donuts ($5) with chocolate sauce had 4 tiny donuts. Very good but tiny. Nice if you are on a diet!
Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee ($6) was much more reasonably sized with a nice crust and lots of smooth egg pudding.
OK: (Order if you like this dish)
Margherita Pizza ($8) was small, thick, and pretty average.
Fresh Spaghetti, prawns and porcini mushrooms ($12 small) was a good sized pasta dish. Reasonable but other options are better.
Cherry Cola cocktail ($12) was weak, unmixed but had a nice flavor.
Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)
Pan Roasted Pork Tenderloin ($16) sweet potato bacon hash, Maker’s Mark glaze was not worth ordering. The hash tasted like it had bitter ginseng in it.
Winter White Bean & Kale Soup ($5) was fairly bland.