Spent a wonderful Friday evening with Jay and Judy at Billy Berk’s. I had dined there several weeks ago and enjoyed their prix fixe menu that was part of the Dine Downtown San Jose event. This time around, I was able to sample and share some of the other items on the menu.
A surprise favorite of the evening was their Pesto, Roasted Vegetable & Manchego rustic flat bread ($9) which had wonderful texture and a perfect balance between the sweetness of the red pepper, tomatos and carmelized onions with the tartness from the balsamic vinegar. There was enough cheese to hold the dish together without becoming overbearing. The flatbread was crisp, thin and had a fresh earthiness to it. It was a wonderful way to start the meal.
The dish pair perfectly with our first bottle of Pinot of the night, a La Rochelle 2006 Pinot Noir from the Sarmento Vineyard.
We were seated in the outside courtyard and luckily the winds that were picking up when we first sat down at the table died down and we were able to continue our dining experience Al Fresco.
The next course of appetizers consisted a sampling of the Berk’s Big Chopper salad ($8 – tomatoes, white corn, cucumber & croutons, white balsamic vinaigrette) and their Spicy Ahi Tuna Tower ($12 -taro chips, avocado, cucumber & wasabi aioli). The Spicy Ahi Tuna was very fresh and I loved the presentation. Both Clint and I agreed it was not as good as the Blowfish Pyramid of Tartar.
Four the main course, we shared the Braised Spanish Pork Roast ($17 – herbs, apricots & onions) and the
short-ribs. I ordered the latter because the guava glazed sticky pork ribs from my last visit was looking forward to a similar experience. The spanish pork roast was flavorful and tender and the apricot added a wonderful sweetness. I loved the sauce on the ribs but the outside of the ribs were a little too tough in some spots for my liking. Once you get past the exterior, the meat was tender and juicy.
The main course paired wonderfully with our second pinot, an Artesa 2006 Pinot Noir which was distinctively smokier than the La Rochelle and perfect for the richer entrees.
Finally dessert came around and we were tempted to order the Strawberry Shortcake ($7) and the Coffee Toffee Pie ($8 – layers of oreo, toffee, chocolate cake and layers of coffee ice cream). Both desserts were enormously delicious and a wonderful way to end the meal.
99 S. 1st St., San Jose CA, 95113
408-292-4300 fax 408-292-4006
Managing Partner: BRAD GOLDBERG