Madera Restaurant is located in the Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel, just across the way from venture capital central. This is a high-end hotel that opened up just a couple years ago. Chef Peter Rudolph used to work at Campton place in San Francisco. He uses a wood-burning grill and explores artfully-crafted, market-driven cuisine of bold flavors. Sustainably harvested and produced seafood and meats. Madera means wood in Spanish.
Why did we dine here? – We were in the area and had not eaten at this one Michelin starred restaurant, so we decided to pop in for lunch. We returned for dinner in November, 2011.
Insider Tip – We called for a reservation and were told that there were no tables, but came anyway and got a table.. The seating on the deck is the place to go, when the weather is beautiful.
Cuisine – American
Location – Menlo Park near Highway 280
Opened – 2009
Service – Madera had very good service with a friendly and helpful waiter who helped us navigate the menu and select our dishes. No need to hail waiters here. During our dinner visit in November, 2011, the place was busier and service was slightly above average.
Verdict – Madera serves up excellent food in a beautiful location. While this hotel restaurant (Serves breakfast, lunch, dinner) seems to lack soul and clearly caters to local business folk who went of wine, the food is surprisingly solid. Prices are considerably cheaper at lunch time. Extensive 60-page wine list.
Signature Dishes – Trout, Salmon.
Three kinds of freshly baked excellent bread started off our meal.
Amuse bouche of raw hamachi over creme fraiche.
Oyster and Portuguese Sausage Chowder, Fingerling Potato Chips ($14) was a huge bowl of thick, not too creamy soup filled with almost 6 fresh oysters and robust sausage chunks. The potato chips on top were a bit soggy though.
D’ stefano Burrata and Roasted Beet Salad, Mustard Greens, Pickled Grapes, Spiced Chardonnay Vinaigrette ($16) was a beautiful looking salad with very fresh ingredients including some top-notch mozzarella cheese.
Seared Royal Sweet Scallop ($17) Sweet and Sour Braised Cabbage, Polenta, Prosciutto Emulsion was an excellent dish with one large scallop surrounded by interesting neighbors. The crispy potato chip like prosciutto was especially good.
Steamed Acadia Mussels and Savory Clams, Spicy Tomato Broth, Israeli Couscous, Cherry Tomatoes ($20) came highly recommended by the waiter and definitely hit the spot. Lots of fresh shellfish, and excellent tomatoey broth in which we dipped the toasted bread. The broth was so hot initially, we had to wait a while for it to cool off.
Pan roasted Idaho Golden Trout, English pea, sugar snap peas, and oyster mushroom Ragoup, Meyer lemon Beurre Noisette ($24) was also highly recommended and proved to be excellent. The Trout have the excellent crust which added to its delicate and tender meat.
Niman Ranch Lamb T-bone ($38) Lamb Crepinette, Glazed Baby Carrots and Fennel, Semolina Dumpling, Red Bell Pepper Balsamic Gastrique consisted of a bone in lamb chop along with a tender lamb patty. Both were high quality and only slightly gamey. The vegetables were very fresh and rounded out this solid dish.
Beef Sliders with Homemade Fries ($10 kids menu) consisted of three good sized mini-burgers topped with a strong cheese. The fries were pretty good too. This dish is also available in the bar.
Crème fraîche Panna cotta, stewed strawberries, short cake croutons, and strawberry sorbet ($10) was an excellent dessert with very smooth custard, soft and sweet strawberries, and some tasty candied kumquats.
Beignets, Blackberry Honey, House Made Plum Preserve ($10) included six large sugar coated balls of wonder. The two dipping sauces were perfect, making this a must get dessert if you like fried goodness.
Warm Chocolate Chip Cookies, Glass of Milk ($6 kids menu) had three freshly baked cookies and could have been better if they lowered the sweetness level.
OK: (Order if you like this dish)
Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)