Tuesday, February 28, 2006


A nice thing about birthdays is that you get to have great dinners with your friends. Even though mine was last week, the celebrations continue, and last night I dined with Elaine at Tamarine.

Tamarine is stylish, well-reviewed Vietnamese restaurant in Palo Alto, and it is very popular with my readers. I’ve been at least a dozen times, and I still look forward to each visit. It is quite comparable to Slanted Door, but I think that Tamarine is better.

The menu changes often yet they achieve a nice balance between new items and classics. We tried to follow that example in ordering, opting for the new (lemongrass beef wrapped in rice noodles, black cod in a clay pot) and the standards (tri-squash scallop curry and garlic noodles with crab).

We shared a Pinot Noir from Alsace and then ended our meal with the banana beignets. As the Finicky Lawyer points out in this excellent description of Tamarine, desserts are spotty but the bananas are delicious.

A note for my city friends: the owners of Tamarine are opening Bong Su south of Market in April. I'll assume that the food will be better than the name.

Tamarine: 546 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA (650) 325-8500
Slanted Door: 1 Ferry Building # 270, San Francisco, CA (415) 861-8032
Bong Su: 311 3rd St, San Francisco, CA (415) 536-5800