Favorite Restaurant: Metro Lafayette
Reviewed Metro Lafayette: Thursday, April 11, 2013
Metro Lafayette ranks among the great East Bay restaurants because of its stellar food, wine list, cool vibe and vibrant bar. The gorgeous outdoor patio and stylish interiors make it a perfect escape from suburban humdrum. Established over six years ago by experienced restaurateur Jack Moore, locals and visitors are as delighted with the restaurant now as they were when it first opened. The menu changes seasonally and focuses on fresh and locally-sourced ingredients. Chef Steve Jaramillo has constructed dishes that truly reflect the ethic of California cuisine: elegant simplicity in its plating and flavor.
I return again and again for my favorite dishes: crispy Brussels sprouts with lemon aioli; miso black cod on a scallion rice cake in a ginger dashi broth; steak salad with spinach, buttermilk blue cheese and caramelized onions; and organic beet salad with chevre and arugula. While these are the highlights for me, no dish disappoints and this kitchen can transform even a humble burger into a gustatory joy. The desserts are always as delicious as they are lovely and cater to a broad array of tastes. The wine list is extensive and thoughtful, reflecting the best regions and offering many that are affordable and available by the glass.
Metro’s staff is as friendly, informed and attentive as any you’d find in the best restaurants in San Francisco and you’ll never see them raise an eyebrow. Split plates, noisy kids, special requests, even adding friends to your table halfway through the meal are welcomed. Metro Lafayette’s neighborly attitude makes the customers keep coming back for more. That’s why on any given day or night, the crowd is lively and engaged, delighting in the food, drinks and atmosphere of this superb restaurant.
Location: Castro Valley
Favorite Restaurant: Buddy's Bites and Brews
Reviewed Metro Lafayette: Sunday, April 7, 2013
We decided to make a night of it and invite some friends to join us here for dinner on a rainy Sunday evening around 6pm. We had a party of seven and I had made a reservation about a week ahead of time. The restaurant was easy to find and located in a Whole Foods Shopping center strip mall. The inside is decorated with sleek, hip modern decor. They also had a back patio with heat lamps that looks like it could be a lot of fun on a hot summer evening. As we walked in you enter through the bar and we noticed two of our other party members sitting at a bar table enjoying a cocktail and glass of wine while they were waiting. There was actual barstool seating and about 3 or four tables in the bar area. There were a few other people at the bar either waiting for tables or just hanging at the bar. We were still waiting for our other guests of our party to arrive so decided to order a drink from their drink menu. I decided to go with the Moscow Mule.
Drinks came out just as our final party members arrived and we decided to be seated and bring our drinks to the table. Our table was actually just a few steps from the hostess stand and the bar table we were sitting at (which we all thought was kind of strange because we could see there were plenty of tables inside the actual restaurant) As I looked around I noticed there was the main area of restaurant and they even had an indoor fireplace, but that wasn't anywhere near our table, unfortunately. Oh well.
I enjoyed my Moscow Mule and scanned the menu. The drink was perfect! Mixed to perfection and generous in size. Our group decided to order Meatballs, Duck-confit spring-rolls, Scallops, Truffle Fries and the Tuna Poke.
The Meatballs and Spring rolls arrived first. Meatballs were out of this world- moist and delicious. They actually tasted like something your old Italian grandmother would make. I just wish there were more of them! They only gave us four so for our party of seven we had to slice it up in tiny pieces for everyone to try. The spring rolls were tasty and crunchy. I especially enjoyed the dipping sauce for those.
Next arrived the cooked to perfection scallops. Again they only gave four, so we had to slice very then to share. The truffle fries were perfectly crispy and just the right amount of truffle oil so it wasn't over powering, really very delicious. The Poke we all thought was very salty and probably wouldn't get that again.
For my entree I ordered the Halibut and the ($16) Chardonnay (both by recommendation of our waiter). He asked if I like Cilantro if I was ordering that. I said yes and was excited to try it. Knowing flavor profiles, something with cilantro should have a decent amount of kick. Boy was I wrong. I was very, very wrong.
My halibut entree arrived and looked amazing. It was garnished with some tiny potatoes that were really tasty and well-seasoned. As I took my first bite of halibut, I thought to myself, where's the flavor?! The fish was cooked perfectly, but it was bland, bland bland! Especially after our waiter kind of warned me about cilantro I was expecting some punch, but this had none. In fact, I went straight to the salt and pepper shakers to load up on seasoning, which helped somewhat, but with the $22 price tag the dish should be stellar. Sadly, I could’ve made a better sauce for this better at home. The fish was nicely paired with my $16 Chardonnay but as I was drinking it, I noticed the was a bug floating in it. I had to let our waiter know, and he took it away and brought a fresh one.
We finished our meal with the Tarte Tatin, very delicious warm apple-y goodness. It had a dollop of crème fraise atop too! The combination of the crust with the warm apple and cream was such a wonderful combination!
To sum up my experience, the foreplay of my meal was stellar but when it came to the finale, it was lackluster. All in all, I would go back with a group of girlfriends if I happen to be in Lafayette for drinks and appetizers or drinks and dessert ONLY. Skip the entrees, they are overpriced and underwhelming.
Occupation: Chef and High-Tech Entrepreneur
Favorite Restaurant: HRD Smokin' Grill
Reviewed Metro Lafayette: Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Metro is a sophisticated, almost urban corner in otherwise suburban Lafayette. The indoor décor and bar is inviting however it’s the largest outdoor patio in the East Bay that really gives this place its energy. In the summer you’ll need to get here early to secure your table. People flock to the al fresco dining amongst mulberry trees, fragrant lavender and rosemary bushes. The menu features an eclectic mix of California-French dishes, including items like the Duck Confit Spring Rolls with spicy lime dipping sauce and the Gnocchi Parisienne with roasted kabocha squash, leeks, brown butter and sage. While everything was well executed, the dishes never quite delivered on the palate. The wine list, however, is worth a look for its appeal to all budgets and palates, and the service was both attentive and personal.