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The Table: Brunch Done Right in Willow Glen

Delicious Monkey Bread @ The Table
The Monkey Bread

Those that know Amy and I well, also know that we have a special place in our hearts and stomachs for a good brunch spot. Restaurants will go to great lengths to offer specials, tasting menus and farm-to-table selections for dinner that are creative, delicious and unique. When it comes to breakfast and brunch, however, these same restaurants have a tendency to, well, mail it in. They throw a few egg dishes, some pancakes and a few meats and fruits on a menu and call it a day. The Table decided to go the other direction. They put together a deliciously eclectic, but not pretentious menu with enough kid-friendly items to satiate the critters and bottomless mimosas to help parents ease into their morning. While I've never had anything bad at this place, there are a few clear standouts, and we enjoyed a few of them on this visit. The kids and myself all had some of the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, which have amazing flavor and texture. They're light with crispy edges, but the Ricotta adds a bit of chewiness to the pancake that makes them irresistable. I love these pancakes and my kids can eat them by the truckload. For our main dishes, Amy had the Fried Chicken with Gravy on a Cheddar Biscuit and I had the Steak & Eggs with Chimichurri. When it comes to the Fried Chicken, one look at this dish and you know you're in for something special. She really loved this combination, and was nice enough to allow me to have a bite of it before it was dusted. From that one bite, I found the chicken, farm egg and gravy on that fluffy biscuit to be richly satisfying. I ordered the Steak & Eggs and it was very good. They serve a nice tender cut of hanger steak with chimechurri sauce, a generous portion of griddles potatoes and fluffy scrambled eggs. Since I normally order breakfast or brunch dishes that are on the sweet side, this dish was a huge departure for me, but I really enjoyed it. Everything was cooked perfectly and the chimichurri sauce was the perfect compliment to the beef.


Lemon Ricotta Pancakes @ The Table
My Favorite: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
Fried Chicken w/ Gravy on a Cheddar Biscuit @ The Table
Fried Chicken w/ Gravy on a Cheddar Biscuit
Storefront @ The Table

The atmosphere is really pleasant, and even though the place has a bit of an upscale/hipster vibe, we regularly see families with small children and the staff are accommodating and friendly in every way. I almost forgot to mention the Monkey Bread, which is messy, sweet and delicious. If you don't feel like you're getting enough carbs with the rest of your meal, by all means, order 1 or 2 of these for the table as well. This place is very popular with the locals, and reservations for brunch are accepted for Friday's only, but if you want to be on the safe side, just plan to show up within the first 30-60 mins of opening and you shouldn't have a problem getting a table. This is, by far, our favorite brunch spot in San Jose at this point and I recommend it to everyone we talk to. So, go ... enjoy and don't forget the mimosas.

Useful Info

The Menus @ The Table
Directions
The Table Photo Gallery

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Konjoe Burger: Front-runner for Best Burger in the South Bay

Amy and I have had what we ( as do others ) consider to be one of the best burgers in the US. I'm speaking of the famous cheeseburger at Au Cheval in Chicago. While I'm not about to try and do a direct comparison between Au Cheval and Konjoe, I feel that it bolsters my position, albeit slightly, as someone that can easily identify a really good burger. I have friends that have tried the Pork Belly and others have really enjoyed The Basics, but for my money, I wanted the Konjoe Burger. Let me paint a picture for you. Imagine tender grass-fed beef topped with melted jack, caramelized onions, pickled jalapeƱos, a bit of their signature sauce and as if that was not rich and fatty enough for you, top it all off with a fried egg. Gezuz! They wrap all of that in a rather tasty toasted bun and the entire combination is really fuckin' good.

Their Signature Konjoe Burger with Fries
The Konjoe Burger
Best burger in the South Bay

I had tried this burger a year or so ago and really enjoyed it, but for some stupid reason, I had them leave off the cheese. Also, this time around I specified that I wanted them to go easy on the Konjoe sauce. While the Konjoe sauce is good, there are so many other flavors happening (especially with the pickled jalapeƱos and the fried egg) that help it stand out as a truly great burger. I also thought the juiciness of the grass-fed beef, just the right amount of melted cheese and the sweetness of the caramelized onions helped bring it all together. The burger comes with a side of fries and ketchup, and even though they changed the cut of their fries from wedge to steak fries, they were still really good. This is definitely at the top of my list when it comes to great burgers in the Bay Area and right now, it is probably the best burger in the South Bay.


In summary, I'll just say that if you want an incredibly good hamburger in San Jose, head over to Konjoe. San Pedro Square Market is a family-friendly spot with a large patio/outdoor area and a variety of alcoholic beverages to help smooth out your weekend. Konjoe Burger is located in San Pedro Square Market, near the recently reviewed Bray Butcher Block and Bistro and right across from the Market Beer Co.

Useful Info

The Menu @ Konjoe
Directions
Konjoe Photo Gallery

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Bray Butcher Block and Bistro: Kick-Ass BBQ in the South (Bay)

The Storefront at Bray Butcher Block and Bistro

Amy and I had been to Bray Butcher Block and Bistro about a year ago, and although I enjoyed the experience, I only got to try one of their sandwiches and don't feel like I got the full experience. Well, we decided to visit again, this time with the goal of trying a variety of their menu items (the lone exception being a rather tasty Mission Hefeweizen I picked up at Market Beer Co). I'm not sure if our first impression was off-base, or they've just upped their game, but everything we ordered was super good. I ordered the Tri-Tip sandwich and was blown away by the fatty, juicy goodness of this sandwich. The Tri-Tip had a little bit of char and was tender with a bit of pink, but not bloody. Their house BBQ sauce was a revelation with it's tang and a bit of spice and when you take all of that, add some cheese, crispy bacon and put it on an toasted onion bun, well … it was perfect. Amy ordered the Ribs, as she is inclined to do when someplace interesting has them on the menu, and she was not disappointed. The Roasted Strawberry Chipotle BBQ Sauce was very different from the house sauce, but equally tasty with just the right amount of heat. Messy, tasty, juicy and addictive. Yep, the ribs were good.


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Roy's Station: A crafted cap in Japantown

My cappuccino at Roy's Station

There are many good coffee shops scattered around the Bay Area, but they vary greatly with their types of drinks, variety of roasts or the overall level of snobbery. Roy's is a favorite of mine and our friends because they have a great location with a young, hip environment and most importantly, they make very good espresso drinks. What you'll find inside of Roy's is a counter area with a large espresso machine, a cold case with snacks (often used to feed my little rascals), a vintage coke machine and some tables. What I find to be the most enjoyable part of Roy's is the outdoor seating. This was originally a Mobil gas station and the way in which they repurposed and styled this cafe is truly unique. My wife, kids and I really like this spot and will often use it as a halfway point destination for weekend bike rides. It helps that it's situated on Jackson in Japantown, and within a short walk you've got restaurants and a number of shops. For those into sneakers and street wear, you have Cukui, Headliners, Aristocrats and Azuki all within 1-2 blocks.


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Bibo's NY Pizza: A Slice of Heaven

Amy and I had been hearing a lot of amazing things about Bibo's for the last year or so and finally decided to give it a try. If you're looking for a pizza made with organic ingredients on a gluten-free crust, baked in a zillion-dollar wood fired oven and served with a fine glass of Pinot Noir, do not go to this place. You will be disappointed and furthermore, they will probably laugh at you. If what you're looking for however, is some delicious thin-crust pizza, then pay Bibo's a visit. Now, try as you might, you will not lure me into any sort of verbal sparring or holy war when it comes to the debate about New York Pizza vs. Chicago-Style Pizza and whether or not California Pizza even belongs in the conversation. I won't do it. I haven't had the pizza in Chicago or New York, so I can only tell you whether I found this to be tasty and, well, yes it was incredibly tasty.


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KANSUI: A Legit Ramen Joint in Willow Glen

Order form at KANSUI in Willow Glen

I am a relative novice when it comes to ramen, and even I noticed the lack of well regarded ramen spots in the San Jose area. I've had some good ramen at Shalala in Mountain View, and also tried a few other places on the peninsula, most of which I found to be underwhelming. So I'm sure you could imagine, with me living in The Glen, how happy I was to find out that Kansui was going to be opening with what looked like a very tasty menu. If you're considering hitting this place for lunch, I'll save you the suspense and give you the verdict on KANSUI. It's Good! Really Good! You should go there. For those unaware, KANSUI is pop-up restaurant in Willow Glen's Hay Market focused on ramen, sake and a few small plates. My wife and I are big fans of Hay Market and have enjoyed some lively conversations with it's owner, Joe Cirone on the food scene in San Jose, Chicago and beyond. While enjoying our lunch, we got a lot of interesting details about the process of getting KANSUI up and running, but that can wait. The food was very good, so I think I'll write about that for a bit. Amy and I both stuck with the plan and ordered Ramen and were not disappointed. My wife has a taste for all things spicy, so she got the Spicy Red Miso Ramen and I ordered the Tonkatsu (72 Hour Pork Broth). First off, the Tonkatsu. If it's at all possible for a broth like this to have a light taste and texture, well, they achieved the near impossible. This is not to say it wasn't rich and tasty, on the contrary. It was full of flavor, but it did not have the heavy and salty taste and texture that I've had at other Ramen places when ordering the same item. Amy was especially impressed that they include a soft-boiled egg in each ramen bowl. It seems a lot of places cannot be bothered to deal with soft-boiled eggs, but at a place like this, it's all about the details.


Tonkatsu Ramen at KANSUI in Willow Glen
Tonkatsu Ramen - 72 Hour Pork Broth
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