Los Cabos Restaurant Scene

December 14, 2015 Edition
BY: CHUCK WAGON

There are so many new restaurants in San Jose, it’s hard to choose where to eat. But one place not to be missed, especially if you’re looking for an upscale fine dining restaurant with great presentation and warm hosts, is La Patrona.

La Patrona is in the art district of San Jose where the old Voila was in Plaza Paulina, on Morelos. Our hosts are Bonnie and Klaus Birkel, who have lived here three years now, moving from Texas, which you can still hear in Bonnie’s speech, just as you can still hear German from Klaus.

Bonnie likes to say eating is a necessity but dining well is an art and she does make the experience into what appears to be an effortless art. White linen table cloths and napkins are only the beginning of the elegant table she sets. It’s a pretty spot to begin with, and the Birkels have brought it up to the level of glamorous.

The food is wonderful, and all the more impressive because we were there opening night. Still, everything went off flawlessly, with the prix fixe menu on a nice timetable, and the waiters already on their game. The food was excellent.

For now they are only open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, but a more casual outside lunch is coming soon, whatever that means. But we would guess that’s a German soon, not a Mexican soon.

The wine list is three pages long, and is a well chosen eclectic mix of countries of origin and blends. Of course there is a full bar of distilled spirits.

Considering the atmosphere and the menu, the prices are fair, with a generous 8 oz USDA Prime 30 day aged filet mignon dinner for $47. A rack of lamb, rosemary crusted with mint sauce and mashed potatoes, is the same. Sesame crusted seared blue fin tuna served with a ginger soy sauce is only $28. Locally sourced fish dinners are $25.

There are appetizers, including oysters or beef carpaccio, soups and salads. And of course there is Klaus’ German style cheesecake for desert.

There are several special events each month, so do check their website. This month there is German Christmas dinner, Mexican Christmas dinner and American/Canadian Christmas dinner. Also this month is a duo playing a guitar and bongos, perfect dinner music.

 La Patrona is open Tuesday-Saturday for dinner at 6 to 10:30. Sunday brunch is served from 11 to 3:30 and then they close. Closed all day Monday. Phone cell 624 129 8637. Website is www.lapatronafinedining.com. There is valet parking and close by self parking.

Not up for fine dining tonight? Want to just wander into town in your comfies and maybe catch a game and a drink, food too? Just One More has opened in downtown San Jose, on the down street, across from the bank.

It’s an upstairs/downstairs/terrace place, giving you three seating options, but most people opt for the upstairs roof top. There are plenty of TVs, and because it’s Canadian owned and mostly frequented by Canadians, expect to see a lot of hockey this winter. Maybe some curling, too.

The food is good, stick to your ribs down home fare at a fair price. We had the beef tips appetizer which were simmered in  horseradish cream sauce and served with roasted garlic puree, for $8 U.S. Our friend had a filet mignon, and while it was not as fat as we expected, it was delicious and cooked exactly as we asked. That was about $10 and came with a salad and fries. Does everything come with fries these days? Yes, just about.

A fish dinner comes grilled, blackened or battered, all for less than $10. You can get a shepherd’s pie that’s completely plant based. It’s the traditional three layered dish but with soy chorizo, fresh corn and creamed corn, topped with a layer of garlicky mashed potatoes. It’s vegan. All for way under 10 Gringo bucks.

Sorry, Canadians, I know this is your restaurant, but if we quoted these prices in Canadian dollars, you would be going off on your normal wail about your crappy exchange rate. As an American, this reviewer does truly feel your pain. I’m not saying I’m sharing in it, but I do feel badly about it. It would be better if we were all in the same boat.

Just One More is open for breakfast, but it’s no Tim Hortons. You can get a good cup of coffee, eggs anyway you want them, pancakes and French toast. Yes, there are Mexican eggs, too. Breakfast will set you back about six bucks.

Lunch is an assortment of burgers, wraps, and tacos at similar reasonable prices.

All this is the brain child of Terry and Denise Erickson, who have been around San Jose for many years, even owning some previous watering holes, so they have a following that has got them off to a fast start. It also helps that they have at least a dozen TVs, and frequently have live bands.

There is no parking, but street parking can usually be found within a few minute’s walk on every night but Thursday. It’s also not a glamourous establishment. Actually, it’s a little rough. Try not to need  the ladies’ room, as it’s not going to win any architectural prizes. Maybe they’re working on that. Maybe not, as they would have to move walls to make it work.

But you’re there for the great food, the great prices, the rooftop ambiance, the live music, and to hang with the fun people who know how and where to party.

Contact Terry at osopelon5758@gmail.com. No website but they do have a Facebook page. You know how to find that.