Sunday, August 4

SP2 Communal Bar + Restaurant

Image Source: SP2
 I recently had the pleasure of visiting SP2 Communal Bar + Restaurant while still in its soft opening phase. SP2 occupies the space that once held Sabor which was formerly Taste. Sabor = Spanish word for Taste. Hmm, I wonder which clever marketing guy is responsible for that piece of genius...Anyway, the last time I was here it was still called Taste and I got kicked out for throwing up on the floor. Yes, guilty!

EDIT: I was wrong. The old Taste is now San Pedro Square Market. Club Cuccini used to be where SP2 is now. When Taste closed, the owners opened Sabor in that spot. Which means I was kicked out of Sabor and not Taste.

(2007)
Image Source: ymetro.com
This picture was taken before I threw up and the bouncer kicked us out. Say hello to our mustached friend in the corner there. Kidding, we don't know him. Poor guy, sat on a couch 6 years ago and now this photo's coming back to haunt him.
---

(Present day - 2013)

SP2 has contemporary style with a casual vibe, serving cocktails and European inspired American bistro food. Owned and managed by this handsome team who altogether claim an impressive bar/restaurant management resume including 620 Jones, Hukilau, Butterfly, and Oola in San Francisco. The head chef is Ola Fendert, Swedish chef of his name sake restaurant, Oola.
Image Source: SP2
Image Source: SP2
They maintained the outside seating area that I liked from Taste/Sabor except now it's more open and looks like a swanky New York rooftop. No heating for the outside area yet but I'm sure it's coming soon.

Image Source: SP2
The immaculate dining area has custom designed furniture, historical photos of San Jose hanging on the walls, and repurposed green wine bottle chandeliers. Now where have I seen wine bottles repurposed as lighting before...I know, at Amelie, also in San Francisco. Must be a San Francisco thing. They have such a good eye for the aesthetics!

Image Source: SP2
Image Source: my 60D with an 18-55mm lens
($12) Left: Sweet Berry Sour - Belvedere berry vodka, muddled raspberry, lemon juice, simple syrup. I chose it because it's fruity and was the only drink on the menu at the time without gin. I would recommend this drink.
($10) Right: Nice Pear - Tanqueray gin, Japanese pear, fresh lime juice, cucumber, simple syrup, peychaud bitters. My dining companion really liked this drink. Once I ordered a version with vodka instead of gin, I really liked it too. Very fruity, tastes like summer.

Image Source: Yelp
($16) Parpardelle with beef, pork, veal bolognese sauce with tomato. Has a kick of chile. I've had an 8 month long journey to find parpardelle on a local restaurant menu and I finally found it here. It's everything I imagined it would be. Who would think 3 types of meat go together so well but they do. In short, this was a fantastic dish!

Image Source: SP2
($15) Spiced Ahi Tuna with hearts of palm, fingerling potato chips, green vinaigrette, and radishes. Mine actually had watermelon radishes, score! The vinaigrette tasted like some mix of citrus and herbs, of which I could only recognize parsley and something that tasted like Vietnamese rice paddy herb (ngo om). I'm probably wrong. My dining buddy thought it was overpowering. I'm used to a lot of herbs in my food and I thought it was the perfect appetizer for summer.

Image Source: SP2
($15) Loaded Marin Suns Farm Burger with truffle fries - Lettuce, tomato, onion, bacon, cheese, avocado. This burger was just ok. The fries were pretty good but once again, I don't see the hype with truffle fries. 

Image Source: SP2
($12 for half, $24 for full rack) Ginger soy glazed baby back ribs. This is what we should've ordered.This is what Chef Ola Fendert is known for. Maybe next time. If you try this, tell me how it is.

Image Source: my  Samsung S3
($8) Rum Bread Pudding - Our menu said Frangelico rum, Creme Anglaise, raspberries and house creme, Fraiche Chantilly. That's all fancy talk for it's good, it's smooth and velvety, and the cream tastes like condensed milk. Highly recommend this one.

Image Source: my Samsung S3
($8) Creme Brulee - Two extreme textures here. Rather than the delicate crack into a creme brulee, you're breaking a sugar layer like pieces of toffee above creme that is too soft. The taste was fine though.

Image Source: my Samsung S3
I'm going to end on this image from the women's bathroom to show you the succulent garden I'm going to copy and put in my own house. These guys really have an eye for the organic, sustainable, green type of decor.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS
This summer, so many new businesses opened in downtown San Jose and I've been to all of them to compare. While it's not a competition and you should go to all the downtown bars and restaurants at some point, I would suggest you go to SP2 first. It is worth your time. Go before it gets too crowded because this is the kind of place that will draw a crowd. The food is good and I think its priced fairly. There are a few kinks to work out with their service but I'm confident they'll get it together by grand opening. What you'll mostly get out of your experience here are very good cocktails and a great atmosphere. Hate to say it but San Jose hasn't been so great with their drinks until recently. SP2 drinks are definitely next level game compared to AMF's, Midori Sours, Sex on the Beach, Long Island Ice Tea, and the usuals you used to find around here. I'll definitely be coming back, maybe this time I won't get kicked out. We'll see...

SanJose.com's write up of SP2 <--very accurate, exactly how I would describe this place

SP2 Communal Bar + Restaurant on Urbanspoon
*While I received a complimentary meal from SP2, the opinions and reviews on this post are all my own. I wasn't used to my new lens that day so SP2 sent me most of these photos.

4 comments:

  1. Those ribs look delicious!!! This restaurant is in SAN JOSE??? It looks too fancy. San Jose has really upped their game. I can't wait to try it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for coming in! Hopefully, you won't get kicked out anytime soon. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. $15 for a burger? That better be the best freakin burger I the world.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mm.... Crème brûlée is seriously so delicious!

    Kate from Clear the Way

    ReplyDelete

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