Dine: Tommy Toy's
Dine: West Bay Café
  Spa: Thermaetel


Restaurant Review

West Bay Café
Burlingame, CA

The new West Bay Cafe, under the direction of internationally known Chef Robert Simpson, is a beautiful new addition to the mid-peninsula dining scene. Located at the recently renovated Crowne Plaza San Francisco International Airport hotel, the restaurant and adjoining West Bay Lounge are completely new and gleaming.

The restaurant is spacious with a high-ceilinged adjacent lounge decorated in colors redolent of cinnamon, sage and chocolate. Curved, clear glass walls covered with diaphanous sage-tinted draperies line the entrance.

The fare is progressive American cuisine, with French and Italian influences. It’s also downright yummy. A recent lunch started with the West Bay Crab Cakes, laid over a salad of jicama, mango, beets, arugula and Bosc pears with a light mustard sauce. The cakes were plump and moist, chock full of tasty fresh crab chunks. For an entrée, I selected the Pan Roasted Basil Chicken with Picoline olives, caramelized fennel, oven cured tomatoes and a side of macaroni gratin (mac and cheese to my friends!) The chicken skin was crispy, just as I like it and the meat was moist and tender. The portions were large and filling, but I opted for dessert anyway, pounds be damned! I was trying to keep it simple, so I ordered the Sugar Tuille Basket, which included generous scoops of vanilla ice cream swimming in a Grand Marnier-flavored Berry Salad. It was delicious and refreshing.

A few days later, I returned for dinner, accompanied by a couple of friends. This time we settled into one of the large, comfortable round booths. From there, we could watch both the fireplace to our right, and the lounge where a mesmerizing light show danced on the wall. This time, for an appetizer, I treated myself to the Herb-Crusted Ahi Tuna with shaved fennel, baby escarole, roasted bell peppers and a Thai basil caper dressing. Um, um good. Cooked to perfection, it was not too raw, nor too well done. Next came the perfectly prepared Grilled Colorado Lamb Chops. Pink and tender, they were complimented by braised fennel, Kalamata olives, fava beans, roasted new potatoes and fresh rosemary-scented jus. Dessert was the Pineapple Cheesecake that included roasted pineapple chutney, vanilla and Meyers Rum Sauce.

Chef Robert Simpson uses fresh seasonal ingredients to produce dishes that are both inventive and delicious. Every day, he prepares all the desserts himself, and they are superb. His service staff is friendly and helpful without being obsequious. The wait between dishes was tolerable, and the price was right. Worth every penny, there’s real value at this restaurant. Tables are set far enough away from each other to have completely private conversations and the lighting is very romantic at dinner,

The West Bay Café is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations are recommended but not required. Casual and/or business attire. 1177 Airport Blvd, Burlingame (at the Crowne Plaza San Francisco International Airport Hotel) 650-373-7038.



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