In my own backyard
Coming home from Carmel, we decided to have dinner at Amber, in Danville. We’ve always liked the place.
And they were closed. Not for the evening, for forever. The restaurant business is tough, and they come and go without warning. Lovely little Amber is no more: there is already construction happening to remodel for whatever is replacing it.
Looking around at the alternatives, we decided on Faz, which has been a fixture in Danville for years, and yet we tend to overlook it. That seems to have been a mistake.
Arriving at the facility, we had our choice of indoor or outdoor seating. Since it was a beautiful, warm evening we chose outdoor, and were shown to a large deck area ringed with redwood trees, framed on 3 sides by the building and a large water feature on the fourth. The chairs were of the plastic garden variety and the red table cloths were jarring in the natural setting, but we were happy to be there.
Faz is Persian/middle Eastern, and we were served with a plate of wonderful flat bread, fresh out of the oven. I think humans are innately programmed to respond to warm bread, and it’s easy to kill your appetite when they give you a plate of it.
Gail and I decided to split a wedge salad, that retro throwback to the 50’s. It’s a sign of a good chef when the kitchen splits the salad for you; I was pleased to see two identical plates come to the table.
The blue cheese dressing on the salad struck me as odd–kind of sweet. I wasn’t crazy about it, but I didn’t hate it, either.
There was a special that called to me: bay scallops on capellini with a pesto sauce. Not something I could ever pass up. The kitchen did a great job of honoring my request for more pasta and less sauce–as the great chef Mario Battali says, the sauce is a condiment not the main event.
Gail opted for the rack of lamb.
An entire rack is quite a bit of meat–we have lamb chops in the refrigerator now. The dish comes with a fancy rice concoction, but Gail opted for simple basmati rice along with the broccolini. The lamb was cooked to medium rare perfection and all was right with the world.
Service was first rate–the owner himself was working, running dishes and making sure everyone was happy. That keeps the rest of the staff on its toes.
All in all, we thought we had an excellent dinner for a reasonable price. It’s easy to overlook the old local standbys, and I’m glad we stopped in here.