Trevese – Los Gatos


Just found out Trevese has closed its doors. Guess my scathing review was a little late!

Our 10 year wedding anniversary snuck up on me somewhat. We’d gone on vacation, had been preparing for our son to start kindergarten, and summer was just flying by. But at the last minute I found a babysitter and did a little Googling and found that Trevese had a Michelin star and we hadn’t been there. I hired a car to drive us over windy Highway 17 and we had our evening booked.

We quickly vetoed the tasting menu as it had too many things we wouldn’t enjoy (pork, lamb, cheese). The vegetarian tasting menu seemed like a joke. The chef has got to be mocking vegetarians. On the vegetarian tasting menu is Tofu TarTar, Granola Rice Roll and Potato Tot… seriously?!? I wanted to order the Tofu TarTar (note, not “tartare”) just to see what the heck it was! But I didn’t.

The first thing to arrive was a shot glass of heirloom tomato and strawberry gazpacho. It was the inspiration for my own gazpacho shooters. A wonderful balance of sweet and tangy. A great start while we were perusing the menu. We did finally settle on what we’d order and it started off well.

The Crispy Quail with Polenta Cake, Smoked Cherries and Chard was finger licking good. The quail had a fried chicken quality and not in a bad way. In an “I want to suck on the bones and lick my fingers” way. The greens were excellent along with the polenta cake. I didn’t have the cherries because I don’t like fruit with my meat but my husband liked them.

To accompany the meal we had a bottle of 2004 Domain Leflaive, “Clavillon,” Premiere Cru, Puligny-Montrachet. It seemed versatile enough to match most of our courses. The wine list was quite interesting. What was most striking was the entire page and Brunello di Montelcinos. There was no other (especially Italian) wine that took up so much of the list so we inquired about this and found out that one of the main investors in the restaurant has a huge collection of Brunellos and sells them on consignment. Brilliant! This gets wine that has been properly aged onto the wine list without the exorbitant markup you can get by trying to find 10-15-year-old Brunello on the retail market. But back to what we actually drank! The Puligny-Montrachet went beautifully with the quail.

Next up was the Sweet Gem Lettuce with a Sweet Onion Dressing, White Anchovy, and Kalamata Olive. This had a very good Caesar salad flavor so it surprised me that it had no cheese on it—of course I was happy with that! It was served with what really tasted like our favorite quick appetizer: Dinon white anchovies. The other salad we ordered was the Asparagus Salad with Juniper Berry and Basil Vinaigrette and Fennel. This was seasonal and fresh. It was a challenge to get on a fork but we managed. It had something they were calling “asparagus flan” which I think would have been better if they’d not called it a flan. It had the texture of a butter more than a custard or flan. Great flavor in it though, just inaccurately named.

So the first courses were great. And then the, unfortunately, all too familiar happened. The main courses came and were disappointing. I see this in so many fancy pants restaurants it seems. The firsts and desserts are great but the mains fall short. Sometimes it’s because of too many ingredients, this time it seemed like it was because of the wrong ingredients.

First up was the Mer Rouge—Prawns, Couscous and Shells Simmered in Marsala Tomato Sauce. This dish was prawny. That’s all there was to it. To quote Janice in Chef, “The prawniness borders on the vulgar to be frank.” I had about three bites and left the rest. And unfortunately the wine emphasized that flavor as well. Blech!

The other dish was Skillet Seared Loch Duart Salmon with Herbed Rice, Fennel Salad and Basil Saffron Broth. The rice in the basil broth was good, the salmon was cooked well (more cooked than I tend to prefer but not overcooked by any means) and then they smothered the salmon in overpowering mustard sauce! It obliterated the fish and anything it came in contact with. Sad.

I decided to have a simple dessert and got an assortment of sorbets and ice cream which were all very good. The texture was wonderful and the flavors were interesting. I wish the openers and desserts stuck with me as much as the mains did. I’m still perplexed by the Michelin star. Was it an off night? Maybe. The first courses were lovely though. Service was impeccable and the sommelier knew his stuff. The evening wasn’t a total loss by any means but not the 10th anniversary extravaganza I was seeking.