With Menlo Park’s new Park James Hotel comes Oak + Violet, the luxury hotel’s main restaurant helmed by executive chef Mike Gadd. It opens for dinner Monday, October 8.
The restaurant features lots of natural wood and a Connemara marble dining bar, where folks can order off-menu daily specials. (The “James” in the hotel name and the green marble are both nods to Menlo Park’s Irish history.) The main menu, meanwhile, shows a simple focus on Californian cuisine with local ingredients. It starts off with small shared bites — Dungeness crab toasts with spicy aioli, mini lobster tacos with avocado creme, steak tartare with pickled vegetables and a poached egg — before moving onto traditional entrees, including toasted farro risotto with butternut squash and hazelnuts; a whole branzino stuffed with roasted fennel, artichokes, olives, and peppers; and steak finished with bone marrow butter.
Gadd and general manager Reed Woogerd both hail from Columbus, Ohio, where Gadd was most recently sous chef at fine dining establishment Veritas. At Oak + Violet, Woogerd is also behind the drinks, including the cocktails, such as the Pacific Mule (cucumber vodka, kiwi, ginger beer) and the Southside (gin, lime, butterfly tea, mint).
Another new dining option at the hotel: The O + V Courtyard offers drinks and more casual fare — also from Gadd — in the shade of a stately oak tree.
Oak + Violet will open Monday, October 8, in the Park James Hotel at 1400 El Camino Real in Menlo Park. Its hours are 5 to 10 p.m. daily. It will open for breakfast starting Monday, October 15, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on weekdays. Lunch will come Monday, October 22, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with Sunday brunch to follow at the end of the month and Saturday brunch in November.