We found Chef Arnold!
Mike knows all the ball players, their numbers and stats. I follow chefs.
And my favorite local chef has long been Arnold Pulido, who was the executive chef at Va da Vi, then Metro, then he disappeared. Tonight, we found him.
Gail and BJ played bridge at the sectional this afternoon, and I wanted to meet them for dinner after. Looking on Opentable I found Martini Sky, billed as a small plate establishment in the Danville Livery. We decided to give it a try.
I got there first, sat down at the table and looked into the open kitchen, which projects into the dining room, and was ecstatic to see Chef Arnold. He was looking my way because he recognized my voice when I walked in. Apparently, I have a voice that carries. Who knew? Arnold has been Executive Chef here for about 5 months, and has clearly put his mark on the place.
Martini Sky is a one medium size room, with a bar on one end and dining on the other. The hostess offers you a choice of a tall table and high chairs or the normal size. The noise level is quite loud on a busy Saturday night.
As you might expect from the name, Martini Sky has offers quite a selection of cocktails with a huge variety of liquors. It looks good if you like that sort of thing; I can only attest that the iced tea was acceptable.
When Gail and BJ arrived, Chef sent over a treat for us–Gail’s favorite appetizer, carpaccio. She fell in love with this when it was available at Va da Vi, and was crushed when it went off the menu there. Getting a gift of a special, off-the-menu dish is pretty wonderful. Life is who you know.
The menu offers quite a variety of dishes, small plates designed to be shared. There are appetizers, salads, main and side dishes, generally of the Asian-fusion school of modern California cooking.
BJ had the Manilla Clams:
I started with the Sesame Crusted Seared Ahi Tuna–which is in the salad section.
Portions here are good–these are some of the largest small plates I’ve ever seen. Two or three people could easily share one order of the Ahi and get a satisfying taste, not just a tiny nibble.
Gail had the meatballs in soft polenta with roasted tomato sauce. She won’t eat the meatballs I cook, but she loved these. Maybe I can get Chef to share the recipe.
Here’s another work of art:
Wontons filled with ground chicken, fried, topped with chimichurri sauce. Tex-Mex meets Hong Kong. The rich purples and greens make this a visual treat even before you taste it. Then the taste explodes in your mouth. They should make this the signature dish of the establishment.
Service was just OK. My order of fish tacos got inexplicably lost, but once I pointed that out the kitchen produced it toute de suite. Ice tea was refreshed regularly, plates cleared somewhat more slowly.
The food was very, very good. The bill was moderate for an upscale place in the ‘burbs. The noise level is too loud, but I’m willing to work with that for more of Chef Arnold’s brand of brilliant small plates. Go give it a try.