Chez TJ – Mountain View, CA

This place is almost a historic gem of Mountain View; after being around for almost 3 decades and garnering accolades along the way (including the Michelin star since the Guide started in the Bay Area in 2006). I don’t know why it took us so long to give this place a shot but when I saw it on Savored, I got knew we had to try it. (Savored is an interesting concept – you pay $10 to make a reservation and you get 30% off your bill regardless off how much you spend!)

I originally had a reservation to dine here for Valentines’ Day and try out their featured menu but had to reschedule because of work. Went on a quiet Thursday evening and it was not packed but perfect for a nice evening.

Lovely quaint little house that was built in 1894. Everything about the house, the decor and even the service was warm and inviting. I felt like we traveled back in time and got transported to a whole new era.

There were two menus offered; the Menu Gastronomique $85

& Chef’s Tasting Menu $120

We decided to give the Chef’s Tasting menu a shot:

Amuse 1: Crispy Cauliflower soup

Yup, I thought I misheard them too BUT it really was a little crispy cube crusted and the inside was a creamy hot cauliflower soup! It a great way to start the meal.

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Amuse 2: Braised Leek topped with Yoghurt Foam

It was citrusy and light. I can’t identify any distinct flavours other than tangerine.

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American Sturgeon Caviar Beignets

These were a lot of fun to eat. It was airy with a nice crust and saltiness from the caviar.

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Rose & Lemon Cured Yellowtail

w Avocado Mousse, Quail Egg pickled in Beets & Salsify. In the spoon is a menthol powder we were instructed to eat before starting the course (to open up our senses).

One of my favourite dishes of the night. The yellowtail was very fresh; firm with a lemony aftertaste and went really well with all the other components on the plate. The avocado was so smooth it was orgasmic! The rich and creamy element definitely made the dish! I was unsure about the pickled egg with the runny yolk but it was really good with the fish.

Note: I had a bite before popping the menthol powder in my mouth and I honestly can’t tell if it really does open up the senses but it was unpleasant to eat. Reminded me of my younger days when I didn’t know how to swallow pills and my mom used to crush them to powder form.

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Risotto of Santa Barbara Sea Urchin

topped with Meyer Lemon zest, Red Bell Peppers, Sorrel &  Onion reduction

The most underwhelming dish of the evening. The sea urchin was quite subtle and it was just a creamy loose risotto with hints of citrus and sweet onion reduction. The peppers added a nice crunch but the rice itself was disappointing.

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Pan Seared Maine Diver Scallop

with Blood Orange sauce, Black Garlic reduction, Broccoli & Pine nuts

OMG! I could not stop thinking bout this dish a week after dining here. Best piece of scallop I have ever had in my life – it had a nice brown sear and perfectly cooked – firm, naturally sweet with a hint of brininess and seasoned so well. It was amazing on its own and just amazing with all the other elements of the dish. The pine nuts added the necessary textural element while the broccoli added a nice bitter note. The orange sauce was delicious – rich and fresh tasting while the black garlic reduction was a contrasting rich savoury.

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Intermezzo: Tangerine Sorbet with Sake Gelee

Best sorbet I have had and the colours and presentation was beautiful! The sorbet was sweet and tangy – Definitely got my palate ready for the next dish~

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Petaluma Farms Chicken Wing “Coq au Vin”

w Crispy Bacon, Pearl Onion, Maitake, Carrot & Leek

Least impressive dish of the evening – The chicken wings lost its signature texture (I can’t describe it but meat on wings have this distinct texture & fattiness). The meat was almost mushy… The flavours were very traditional Coq Au Vin and pretty good. The carrot was carved into this almost perfect looking medallions that I didn’t even know they were carrots.

I continue to be impressed by how pretty and delicately put together every dish was throughout our meal…

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Roasted Snake River Farms Filet Mignon

w Red Cabbage, Carrot puree, Braised Fennel, Hot Mustard reduction

I was a tad skeptical before I even took a bite, which turned out to be totally unwarranted. The mignon looks like it was cooked close to medium and could be drier than what we are used to but this was anything but. The meat must have been cooked sous vide and then seared because it was very tender and juicy. Seasoned beautifully and was great with the vinegar-y red cabbage and sweet carrot puree. It was well balanced with the added kick from the mustard reduction.

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Pata Cabra, Zaragosa, Spain

w Thyme & Bacon Biscuits & Orange Marmalade

Pata Cabra is a type of goat cheese. I am not a cheese person so I could describe how it was. I did love the buttery melt in your mouth biscuits with the sweet citrusy marmalade.

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Parsnip Spice Cake

Seckel Pear cooked in Sake, Star Anise Ice Cream & Sweet Toffee like sauce

Great way to end the meal! A sophisticated take on a very comforting cake – the spiced cake was very reminiscent of a rich moist holiday cake, but brought up a whole new level with the pears and star anise ice cream (which as weird as it sounds, was really good with the cake). The cake soaks up the toffee like sauce making it almost bread pudding like. *loves*

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Extras:
Glass of Riesling
$13
Coffee $4

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Total Damage: $335 (before Savored discount, including tax & tip)

Personal Rating: 4 out of 5 (Very Good)

I apologize in advance for the vague description of the dishes as the menu did not have full descriptions and I am pulling most of the information from memory. I have never gotten into the habit of jotting things down during dinner or right after (and I hope I never do) so I can fully enjoy my dining experience. Taking pictures is as far as I go (we hope!)

I found that our favourite dishes were all available with the 4 course menu for a fraction of the price! The extras were really good but if I were to make another trip back, I may skip the Chef Tasting and go for the 4 course. The dishes were all very exquisitely prepared and definitely Michelin star worthy.

Our whole meal took close to 3 hours, which was not too bad considering Meep and I usually find ways to entertain ourselves but the wait between courses was close to painful (at one point it took almost 20 minutes between the course)

Service was excellent! It was personable yet professional. It felt like our server and everyone else went above and beyond to make our dining experience great.

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Chez TJ

938 Villa Street
Mountain View, CA 94041

(650) 964 7466

Chez TJ on Urbanspoon

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