Monday, May 28, 2007


We found out last week that the venerable Spago, Wolfgang Puck's restaurant in Mountain View, was going to be closing at the end of May. It was one of those places that we'd always meant to go, and so we snapped up a reservation for Saturday night the 26th.

We'd heard various things about Spago, but the consensus seemed to be that while the food was still good, the service had gone downhill and the décor was very passé. I don't know about any of that--we liked the décor and had excellent service all night. Maybe they're stepping it up now that it's closing, and maybe we're just passé too.

We started off with a scrumptious bread basket that included a walnut bread, an olive bread, and a crispy flatbread. All of them were very good--the only problem was that we didn't want to fill up on it.

For appetizers, we split the crab cake and the local spring greens salad. The salad had peas and asparagus, among other things, in a nice sharp balsamic dressing that worked very well with it. That was good, but the crab cake was superb. Soft, flavorful, with light breading and a light lemon aioli...mmmm.

We split the wild salmon with miso glaze, which was fabulous. The barbecue glaze didn't overwhelm the salmon flavor, and the accompanying veggies (something that was either lima beans or edamame, tender, but not mealy, more asparagus, and a mashed-potato-like base) were delicious with the light lemon creamy dressing. I used some of the bread to sop up the glaze, not wanting to leave any on the plate.

For dessert, we shared the ginger pound cake with vanilla ice cream, toffee syrup, and a Minneola tangelo garnish; and the creme brulee with fresh berries and shortbread. My only complaint about the ginger pound cake is that I wish they'd included a little more tangelo. It really went well with the ginger flavor and the toffee. That said, there wasn't much more to complain about with this dessert. It was wonderful, the outside a little sticky and hard as if honey-baked, the inside soft and cakey. The toffee syrup wasn't too overwhelming or sweet, but worked well with the ice cream and cake.

The crème brulée was good, but not outstanding, a little more like flan than custard. We prefer it a bit more custardy, generally. The berries were fresh and the shortbread quite good as well.

Lastly, we got a selection of the fresh-baked cookies to go, and have been nibbling on them ever since. They are quite good, but I think would have been better fresh.

On the way out, we talked to the hostess a bit. She was sad to see the place close, of course, but said they'd had a nice ten-year run. We're certainly going to check out some of Wolfgang Puck's other restaurants; there's a Spago remaining in Caesar's Las Vegas, as well as a Trattoria del Lupo in Mandalay Bay in Vegas and, well, see for yourself. Yes, it was pricey, but it was definitely worth it.

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