Left Bank is a Brasserie style French restaurant. They have 3 locations in the San Francisco Bay Area and got started in 1994. They serve seafood from the CleanFish Alliance of sustainable seafood products. Our last visit in September 2012, was to the Santana Row location in San Jose.
Decor, Vibe – Patio seating outside, separate bar area, nice French style decor inside with a big exposed kitchen and large French posters. Families, couples, several big parties were dining.
Left Bank Menu Pictures (Click to zoom into any picture)
Left Bank’s specials and prix fix change every day.
Left Bank Picks:
CALAMARS FRITS ($11.50) fried calamari, crispy onions, Pommery mustard aïoli
ESCARGOTS ($10.25) in pernod garlic butter was extremely oily and maintained little of the snail’s flavor.
SOUPE À L’OIGNON GRATINÉE ($7.50) traditional onion soup, emmenthal cheese
MOULES FLORENTINE ($11.50) steamed mussels, spinach, white wine, shallots, garlic was a large bowl full of fresh mussels in a flavorful broth that is sure to be liked.
FONDUE AUX FROMAGES ($9.95) melted brie, blue, and goat cheeses is an excellent appetizer for cheese fans. Good quality cheese and some crispy toast made for a classic dish.
FALLON HILLS BURGER ($11.75) 1/2 pound grass-fed beef, pommes frites, ADD bacon, avocado, emmenthal, cheddar or Fourme d’Ambert (each 1.50)
Onion Soup Gratinee ($7.25) was a good rendition of the classic, with refined onion and cheese flavor. It was not too salty or too cheesy. Portion size was on the smaller side.
Moules Florentine ($12.50) had tons of fresh steamed mussels, white wine, and a little touch of spinach. The bread was a little on the burned side, though it made for nice dipping.
MAGRET DE CANARD AUX PÉCHES ($19.95) roasted duck breast with peaches, chickpea fritters, gastrique sauce was cooked to a perfect medium rare and was balanced out with the very fresh sauteed peaches.
Pork Tenderloin ($18.95) was thought to be a boring entree but proved to be a juicy, and cooked perfectly. The included broccolini was also very fresh.
Brasserie Steak Frites ($19.95) natural grass fed beef skirt steak, delicious pommes frites, fresh carrots was very good. The steak had excellent flavor but was not the most tender. It was cooked to a perfect medium rare.
Their Egg Noodles are home made and delicious.
Prix Fixe By Passot ($26.50) Daily changing 3 course prix fixe special is of great value. Too vinegary, garden variety, Green Salad started the trio.
A good sized juicy chicken breast cooked well and served with mash potatoes was the entree.
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp was an excellent dessert. Hot out of the oven, not too sweet, just the right size.
Saumon ($5.50 for kids) A good sized grilled salmon fillet with fresh vegetables was a steal at this price. It was cooked just right.
Sauteed asparagus ($4.25) were several extra big spears of grilled fresh aspargus. Nice and healthy.
Profiteroles ($6.25) three cream puffs, French vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce was brought to us as a complimentary birthday dessert. A nice touch, and a really nice dessert with really smooth ice cream..
Macaroni and Cheese ($5) Elbow pasta with cheddar cheese and sauce Béchamel was pretty standard fare.
Left Bank had decent service and good pacing of dishes. The server checked back often, the bus boys came through often, water was never low. Having read many negative reviews of this place, we worried a bit. Granted, Left Bank is a regional ‘chain’ and not as intimate and homey as a couple-owned restaurant, the food and service was very good, making it a good experience. We only had one salad miss the target. You could drive up to Chapeau! or Bouchon or fly to France to do better. The San Mateo and Pleasant Hill locations closed in 2008.
507 Magnolia Avenue
Larkspur, CA 94939
635 Santa Cruz Ave
Menlo Park CA 94025
377 Santana Row Suite 1100
San Jose, CA 95128