164 South B Street (at 2nd Ave)
San Mateo, CA 94401
Finally! A new hotspot on the San Francisco Peninsula. Known affectionately as The Vault, San Mateo.
Why did we dine here? – Vault 164 recently opened in downtown San Mateo. This restaurant is one of a few high end American eateries in this area. This welcome addition has very nice, modern decor, making one feel like they were in San Francisco, not the suburbs. The chef is Carlos Salcedo (Max’s). This joins old school Viognier and 231 Ellsworth as the high end American dining establishments in this area. Our last visit was in Fall 2013.
Insider Tip – Make reservations as this place was crowded for dinner.
Cuisine – New American
Location – Downtown San Mateo
Opened – January 2012
Service – Vault 164 had very good service with a friendly waitress who helped us navigate the menu as well as kept our experience positive.
Verdict – Vault 164 surprised us with very good food and service in a beautiful and historic building. If you are in the area, give it a try. Across the street is top notch Italian restaurant Osteria Coppa.
Signature Dishes – Pork Chop, Lamb Shank, Steaks, Scallop
Vault 164’s Menu changes regularly. In the fall, we noticed slight adjustments to the style and accompaniments, the dishes were largely the same. They have a wide selection of starters. Many different kinds of entrees including several steaks as well as sandwiches. Kids menu has a lot of options for families.
Vault, San Mateo Food Picks:
Blackberry mojito ($10) cruzan citrus rum, fresh mint, blackberries, lime, sugar, soda was tall, strong and balanced. The regular mojito was not too sweet or minty, but still decent.
Pina coladatini ($10) bacardi pineapple fusion rum, coconut, orange and pineapple juces, cream, shaken & strained, served up. A nice sweet cocktail in a martini glass. Hidden strength sneaks up on you.
Lychee Martini ($10) soho lychee, svedka vodka, fresh lemon & lime, chambord was surprisingly not fruity and pretty potent.
Kiwi Drop ($11) was a deceptively strong drink with a sour characteristic.
Samba Caipirinha ($10) cabana cachaca, orange, lime, & sugar was very potent but not very fruity.
Bacon wrapped dates applewood smoked, goat cheese, balsamic glaze ($9) had a sweet and savory taste to every bite. Soft and crunchy textures also. This appetizer isn’t for everyone.
Tuna Tower ($14) was nicely done with more vegetables than we would like, but all in all highly recommended.
Brussel Sprout Chips with lemon salt ($7) consisted of thin deep fried sprout chips that were slightly greasy, but should satisfy even those people who don’t like brussel sprouts.
Crispy calamari ($10) with pasilla, red peppers and onions, wasabi aioli and chile lime sauce was a solid appetizer that should satisfy most folks. Lots of non calamari items were present.
Crispy filet mignon lettuce cups ($12) butter lettuce cups, spicy ginger soy glaze,
cucumber and red pepper, crispy leeks was a bit spicy and came four cups along with some egg battered deep fried fillet.
Soup of the Day ($6) was a Mexican vegetable soup that proved to be pretty decent.
Asian Sliders ($9) chile glazed shortrib bao, cucumber, pickled onions, pasilla peppers included 3 large buns with large slices of meat. Nicely done.
Figs, prosciutto, and arugula manchego and balsamic glaze flatbread ($13) was a soft and warm flatbread with lots of sweet and salty contrast.
Hearts of romaine caesar parmesan, white anchovies, croutons, kalamata olives, shaved manchego ($7,$5 kids) looked beautiful and proved to be a decent salad.
Poached pear salad ($10) fresh corn, candied pecans, roasted pears, dried cranberries, crumbled bleu cheese, white balsamic vinaigrette with grilled chicken ($4) was pretty massive. Lots of chicken and some nicely poached pears.
Quinoa & kale Salad ($8) baby kale, red quinoa, dried cranberries, feta cheese, toasted walnuts, shallots, meyer lemon vinaigrette was surprisingly good. The kale retained its rough texture unlike several kale salads we’ve had lately. Slightly sweet overall along with some mild quinoa.
Blackened wild salmon on quinoa ($17) cherry tomatoes, white corn, fava beans, arugula,
white balsamic vinaigrette was a large salad with some nicely done salmon rounding out the plate.
Vermont maple glazed berkshire pork chop ($22) black shallot mashed sweet potatoes, crispy leeks was surprisingly excellent. Large, juicy, and very tender.
Ribeye steak ($39) was a nice 16 ounce cut, cooked to our desired medium rare. A bit on the charred side, so make sure you like a charcoal grilled steak. The cream spinach was solid.
Garlic skirt steak ($24) was a pretty huge portion. Very charred, so make sure you like this.
Chicken contadina (Italian fried chicken) ($19) crispy potatoes, cipollini onions, roasted garlic and peppers surprised us. Very lightly breaded, moist and tender, highly recommended.
Sword Fish ($28) was a special dish on one of our visits. This macadamia nut encrusted fish was excellent. Be sure to order it if it is available.
Braised lamb shank on lemon tomato sauce ($29) fava beans, chantrelle, shitake, and crimini mushrooms. sour cream and chive mashed potatoes was a huge dish with lots of tender lamb and a stellar gravy. You can also ask for it Broiled crispy.
Jumbo seared scallops with tomato butter ($27) on risotto with shitake mushrooms and arugula was recommended by the server and included 4 large, hot scallops. Lots of veggies rounded out this decent entree. In the fall we received this with a huge portion of butternut squash risotto. This was very ‘squashy’ though still pretty good.
Wild Salmon ($25) fingerling potatoes, roasted corn, peppers, shiitake mushrooms, spinach, dijon sauce was cooked correctly and surprised us. Fresh, flaky, and tender.
Swordfish ($28) was recommended by the waitress and really hit the mark. Cooked perfected and accompanied by some really well done carrots.
Grilled portobello mushrooms on ciabatta, poached egg, arugula, tomatoes, gruyere cheese, crispy leeks, chile remoulade ($11 Lunch) with brussel sprout slaw was recommended by our server and proved to be surprisingly good. The runny egg and meaty portobello worked well.
Hot pastrami on corn rye ($12 Lunch) was a decent sandwich with lots of pastrami and tangy mustard, although the bread kept falling apart.
JB’s chocolate bread pudding souffle ($8) creme anglaise, – allow 20 minutes – is Vault, San Mateo’s signature dessert that came hot out of the oven. More of a bread pudding than a souffle.
Baked Alaska ($10) comes to the table flambe style. Fun, very rich, and indulgent.
OK: (Order if you like this dish)
Asparagus Risotto ($14) white corn, fava beans, red onion, arugula, parmesan cheese, crispy beet strings (vegetarian) was of average quality with not enough cheese and a bit too many beans that overwhelmed the dish.
Fruit Crisp ($8) was on the healthy side. The apples were fairly crisp while the granola topping became soggy.
Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)