Friday, October 17, 2008

Google tapas

Pintxo 47
1545 Charleston Rd
Mountain View, CA

Pintxo is reputed to be the best of the 16 restaurants and cafes on Google's Mountain View campus. It's cafeteria-style, but what you're looking at as you slide your plastic tray down the line is far from standard cafeteria fare.

The plates I assembled on my tray could have used a shot of color. Only the duck leg with pumpkin and cranberries had some contrast, although all of the dishes were appealing.

I started with a cup of parsnip-pear soup, which also contained onions, leeks, and pear liquor. The combination of flavors was unique and harmonious.

Next was an apple and celery-root "remoulade" dressed with Dijon mustard cream. No single flavor stood out; it was a pleasant crunchy salad.

The roasted duck leg was a great fall dish, rich but not overly sweet like duck with fruit can be sometimes.

Parsnip-stuffed cabbage was another surprise. Cabbage doesn't usually elicit a "wow" from me like this plate did. The leaves were stuffed with pureed parsnips and sauced with apple puree and cider reduction, an intriguing combination of sweet and sharp.

I also tried smoked trout rillettes, purple kale risotto, butternut squash ravioli, and a "pintxo" of black bass with artichokes, fennel, Meyer lemon and saffron. Each dish was just a few bites; all were tasty and expertly prepared.

Desserts didn't call out to me, although the cheese board had some interesting choices: a butter-soft Brillat-Savarin; a Spanish goat cheese, Murcia al Vino ("drunken goat"); and Humboldt Fog, a locally produced chevre striped with edible vegetable ash.

(This picture was taken around 11:45 am, when hardly anyone was having lunch yet. At 12 sharp, the line was suddenly out the door.)

For better photos than these, check out CNN/Fortune's take on Google food. (Pintxo is pictured in photos 8-14.)

1 comment:

Denise Graveline said...

I'm missing NASW because I have 2 back-to-back work gigs...was just in Chicago, and tried Vermilion, an Indian-Latin-fusion place (great), which has tapas and entrees. Later, a local asked "Were those Chicago-sized tapas or real ones?" The Google ones look pretty normal...