Viognier Restaurant is named after a grape grown in France. The restaurant is located in downtown San Mateo upstairs from Draeger’s grocery store. We have tried lunch and dinner here. The menu changes seasonally. We had not eaten here for a while, so it was time to rekindle our memories in late 2011
Dinner is a prix fix 3 ($55) to 4 ($69) to 5 course ($85) meal where you can select any course including 3 entrees!
Decor, Vibe – Viognier has rustic decor with stylish art and a large open kitchen. It is a power lunch place with lots of well dressed business people. At dinner on a weekday night it was pretty barren.
Viognier Menu Pictures
Extensive Wine List
Herb Parisian Gnocchi – Maine Lobster dumplings, parmesan, celery root vichyssoise was very good, with a seared like crust and a soft interior.
Steak Frites ($21 Lunch) New York steak, Homemade Fries, Bearnaise Aioli had a bunch of fries and a small piece of high quality meat that was cooked correctly.
Warm Scallop and Prawn Salad ($20 Lunch) with baby spinach, avocado, bacon, Sherry Dijon Vinaigrette. It only had 2 of each tasty shellfish. Dressing was a little too creamy.
Salad of Local Lettuces – radish, cucumber, apple vinaigrette was nicely done, featuring lots of fresh greens and a light dressing.
Roasted Beet Salad – watercress, walnuts, goat cheese, truffle vinaigrette was a beautiful salad with several different types of beets, a light dressing, and candied walnuts.
Oysters on the half shell – lemon, mignonette, cocktail sauce were fresh and plentiful.
Butternut Squash Bisque – ginger, vanilla, toasted pumpkin seeds, Greek yogurt was poured table side and featured several unique flavors.
Seared Day Boat Scallops – shiitake mushroom, fennel, cauliflower, corn chowder, brown sugar bacon was very good, with two large perfectly crusted scallops.
Slow Cooked Pork Belly – brussels sprouts, pear, spice honey was fatty and tender with a smoked maple flavor. Abundant in quantity.
Seared Cascade Mountain Steelhead Trout – roasted beets, curried lentils, sunchoke puree was cooked in a solid manner to accent the fish’s freshness.
Slow Cooked Short Rib – swiss chard, baby carrots, cipollinis, natural jus were very good, very tender and a robust gravy.
Seared Venison Loin -swiss chard, carrott, truffle jus was stellar. On the rare side, the meat was not too gamey and pretty tender.
Main Lobster Salad (Dinner) with apples, persimmons, walnuts came with lots of tender lobster. The fruit balanced out the lobsters very well.
Seared Yellowfin Tuna (Dinner) with farro, lemon, watercress, extra virgin olive oil was delicious. The tuna was fresh and cut very well. All ingredients worked well together.
Seared Duck Breast (Dinner) with Huckleberry Jus, Happy boy farms Turnips was cooked to a perfect medium rare. Tender meat and crispy skin made for a very good dish. Could have used more huckleberry sauce.
Grilled Prime Beef Strip Loin (Dinner) with Kennebee potato hash, garlic spinach, piquillo pepper sauce was done to a nice medium rare. Good quality meat with good flavor made this a good pick.
Line Caught Halibut (Dinner) with shitake, pistachio, lemon brown butter emulsion was cooked just right. It is hard to cook fish perfectly, but they did it. Very good sized portion.
Baked Alaska – lemon parfait, huckleberry, almond graham crust was a stellar dessert. Retro, featuring a nice hard crust.
Souffled Pumpkin Cheesecake (Dinner) with maple baked kabocha, toasted pepitas, Candied ginger was inventive as it was more like a cake with cheese cake flavor. Interesting and still very good.
Selection of Artisanal cheese and Farmstead Cheeses was pretty high quality and featured many different options. Served with fresh grapes, flat bread, and honey.
Almond Butter Cake – Honey glazed pear, hazelnut ice cream, espresso cream was a solid dessert with a small amount of cake and some well done ice cream.
Wild Mushroom Soup ($10 Lunch) was average, not creamy but nothing special.
Organic Baby Field Greens ($9 Lunch) was a pretty standard salad with good quality greens.
Sonoma Foie Gras Torchon – figs, medjool dates, apricot butter, almonds, toasted brioche was slightly disappointing due to very subdued flavors.
Viognier’s Service was fair especially seeing how empty the place was during dinner. There are not a lot of alternatives for high end dining in San Mateo, making this one of the better higher end bets. Prices are on the high side but quality is right in there. On our last visit at the end of 2011, the place was pretty barren making us wonder how long they will last. It is a shame as this place has a lot of potential.
Viognier Restaurant in San Mateo is know for their extensive 1700+ bottle wine collection. Glasses start at $8, bottles from $23, $25 Corkage.