I love following Food Gal because she has great writing, excellent recipes and amazing restaurant reviews that are local to me in the Bay Area. She recently wrote about an experience she had at Bird Dog in Palo Alto and as soon as I read it, it shot up to first in my “must try” list. I told co-workers about it and was thrilled that my friend went the weekend after I shared the review with her and came back with her own positive review. My niece recently got married so my mother in law was in town and provided us a rare date night out. When my husband asked where I wanted to eat, I knew exactly where I wanted to go – Bird Dog! And it did not disappoint!
The meal started with some complimentary roti which my friend said “think buttery tortilla”. Yup, pretty much! Whatever you want to call it, anything doughy and buttery is a win in my book. There were some subtle spices I tasted as well. Very much a background note but tasty.
I ordered the ocean trout dish for the squid ink chips. It may have been the first thing I noticed about the menu. I am obsessed with squid ink. I love it in so many different forms. I HAD to get this dish even though I was unsure about the trout part. It was plated so beautifully and I knew the flavors were going to be delicate and perfect. It did not disappoint at all. My husband (the harshest critic ever, in my opinion) muttered a noise of approval. I sighed with relief, knowing the rest of the meal would be just as good.
See? Plated perfection.
The next dish caused some discussion at our table. Husband did not want to order a grilled avocado. I said I must have the grilled avocado. He said he knew exactly what it would taste like and while it sounded great, we could make this at home. I insisted that I must have the grilled avocado. We stared each other down but then he relented and said, “If you must have it, I guess we better order it”. The dish came and it was delicious. The ponzu sauce mysteriously got absorbed as I cut into the avocado with my fork but I could taste it in each bite. It felt very asian and the veggie/root? thing on the side reminded me of korean banchan (side dish). Was it a must have? Maybe not. But it was a must have for me and will probably grace my table next time I grill and I will wow my guests. I will share my inspiration and my husband can make all his jokes about the time I HAD to have a grilled avocado.
Ok, so on to the mains. The first one we ordered was wagyu bavette, which was described to me as kind of a flank type cut of meat. It was a choice of striploin or bavette because the husband wanted some wagyu beef. He left it up to me and I went with the dish that had marrow+tendon crumble. WHAT?! Marrow and tendon crumble??? Yes. See that white powdery stuff on the picture below? That’s the marrow and tendon crumble. What kind of mad genius is that? The beef was literally mouth meltingly good. The sliced peaches were such a great compliment. I had to fight for a slice! And anything with shishito peppers is a huge YES for me. This dish was so delicious – a must try!
The other main we ordered was the fried chicken thigh with green curry, egg yolk and smoked uni. I knew from reading FoodGal’s review that the uni was just a flavor of uni in the aoili so I tried not to focus too much on the word uni screaming out at me (probably my favorite food). The chicken was cooked perfectly and had a hint of curried flavor, nothing too overpowering. The chicken was boneless which thrilled my husband. I was surprised they were boneless because they looked like whole bone-in thighs to my untrained eye. Definitely made it easier to eat on a date night in a beautiful restaurant. I have to say, this dish reminded me of my own rendition of Foreign Cinema’s fried chicken and I am proud to say my chicken could hold its own!
We ordered 2 sides to go with our meal. The first was farro with a poached egg. My husband loved how it paired with the fried chicken. It was creamy, hearty and warm. Perfect for a fall evening. I took a video of me breaking the egg yolk, which was PERFECTION, but darn Instagram stories didn’t save it correctly!!! Arrrgh, I’m sticking to Snapchat.
That yolk, though……
Finally, our last dish and final side was the eggplant with shishito pepper. I asked our server what the black stuff on the plate was and she said charred eggplant puree. It was so good. The eggplant was perfectly cooked and I also stole the shishito pepper and lone brussels sprout while my husband concentrated on his wagyu. He got most of the peaches in that dish, so I say we’re even :) My husband was meh about this dish because he’s meh about eggplant in general but as an eggplant lover, I really enjoyed this dish.
Overall, we had a great time and some great, innovative food. I didn’t take any picture of the interior but it was serene and beautiful with lots of wood. Check out the website to take a look. Perfect date night restaurant! I hope you enjoy as much as we did!