Friday, May 3

Firehouse No 1 Gastro Pub - San Jose

Firehouse No. 1 has recently revamped their menu to fit the gastro pub vibe that I have come to know and love. They invited me to try the new menu during Silicon Valley Restaurant Week - think "Dine About Town" but Silicon Valley specific. It took some convincing to get Phil to come out on a Warrior's game night but we were promised the bar would play the game on TV, which they did, and on a big TV at that. 

The pub is next to San Pedro Square and it used to have more traditional bar food. I have never dined here before but I did ask some friends who have tried the old menu. The consensus was "just regular bar food." I don't even know what that means and it sounds greasy so I was very curious to see how they would turn around their menu.

We started with drinks. Stella on the left and Pegan Punch ($9) on the right. The Pegan Punch tastes alot like a Tokyo Tea to me. Sugary, fruity, and really strong but masked in a sweet goodness. Just the kind of cocktail that makes the ladies get drunk faster than the fellas.

I got the Porky Prix Fixe dinner ($35) which started with this Amuse bouche Chiccarrones with lime salt. Ok, two things. 
1) What is an amuse bouche? I had to Google this on the spot. Basically it is a bite-sized hors d'Ĺ“uvre.
2) Which part of this is the lime salt? Looks like Ranch dressing to me.
Ok make this 3 things.
3) Super tasty! The sauce tastes less like Ranch dressing and more like creamy lime salt, as promised. Crispy savory pork skins, yum. Can I have more?

The second course in the Porky menu was a pork belly appetizer in a sweet chile glaze. Crispy on the outside, fatty and tender on the inside, everything a pork belly should be. I ate everything and the decorative sauce too.

($13.50) On to the Le French burger with danish bleu cheese. We both were very afraid of bleu cheese. It's an ingredient that can really over power but Phil felt like going for something different than his usual burger. This was a very juicy burger with just the right amount of bleu cheese. Even I could handle it and that says alot because my palette is sensitive to strong cheeses. The portion of fries was generous and delicious and also topped generously with parsley and lime salt (?). I tasted something sour and I liked it. Second stand out star, the fries. It's always the little things that I remember.
Most importantly, this dish was HUSBAND APPROVED!

The entree for the Porky menu was a slow braised pork shoulder with fresh hominy, chili, cilantro, lime, and cotija cheese. This tastes like pork tamales in a bowl. Overall this dish was good, very well balanced in flavors. I didn't taste too much of the chili and I'm ok with that. There was a lack of variety, mainly in textures. It is alot of the same taste and texture in one bowl. Imagine eating the meat part of a Sloppy Joe without the buns. I think this dish could use some buns.

This Meyer lemon curd dessert was the dessert for the vegetarian prix fixe menu. It was too sour. We tried our best to manage more than a few bites but it gave us both that sour pucker face feeling.

On the other hand, the chocolate bacon ice cream sundae that came with the Porky menu was dee-licious. The whip cream on both the meyer lemon curd and the sundae was fluffy and sweet and reminded me of cookies and cream. In fact, I think that if the pistachio butter cookie toppings from the lemon curd were put onto the sundae instead the peanuts, it would make this thing perfect!

And of course, Go Warriors!

If Firehouse had a problem with their past menu being just regular bar food, then I would say they no longer have this problem. I really enjoyed the prix fixe menu and Phil liked his burger. The service was good. The atmosphere was relaxing for me, exciting for Phil because the game was on and we sat near some other fans. $35 for the prix fixe menu is the standard pricing for Restaurant Week and I felt the portions were large enough to consider a good deal. The a la carte pricing is pretty fair for dinner and this portion size. Remember when Liquid Bread cost a few extra bucks and had half the portion size?...yeah...

Here's the most important review of all. For a place like this, it is important to please both the husband and his wife. Phil says, "I would go back here. This burger is the perfect man meal. It is big and it is good." He had sports for him, and I had fancy food for me. 

Firehouse Gastro Pub on Yelp (congrats to them for moving from 3 stars to 4 stars in a month since I last checked)

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