Jim and Angelique Stump are no strangers to creating the kind of neighborhood restaurants diners can return to time and again — for weeknight dinners, weekend celebrations, and just about everything in between. And that’s exactly what they’re hoping to do once again with their newest project Shepherd & Sims, an upscale but approachable fine dining restaurant serving a menu that veers from pickled fried green tomatoes with buttermilk dressing to 45-day dry-aged New York steak. The restaurant is distinctly personal for the couple, its name being a mashup of both their former last names, and the menu stemming from the kinds of meals they love to share together. “The menu of this restaurant is really an example of Angelique and me, how we like to eat and what we want,” Jim says. “We want to enjoy life and we want people to enjoy life with us,”
The Stump’s other restaurants include the Table in San Jose, Forthright in Campbell, and the Vesper, a cocktail lounge also in Campbell. At Shepherd & Sims, Jim has partnered with chef de cuisine Robert De La Mora to create a menu that’s rooted in Californian ingredients and infused with flavors from Mexico — the restaurant’s pork chop, for example, gets an al pastor-inspired marinade and pineapple puree crown — to Japan — with Yukon potatoes arriving alongside a kombu butter accoutrement. There’s also caviar and pate and ratatouille if diners want to take a trip to France, but one thing both Jim and Angelique stress is that they don’t want the restaurant to feel inaccessible. “I don’t want it to be a special occasion restaurant, I want to have caviar on a Tuesday afternoon,” Jim says. They intentionally chose to open in an “underserved” neighborhood, Angelique says, eschewing downtown Los Gatos and its abundance of independently owned restaurants in favor of a more out-of-the-way part of town, where the couple says most dining options are chains.
On the beverage side, the Stumps have made Shepherd & Sims a true family affair, turning over the keys to the cocktail program to their son and letting their daughter curate the wine list. The back bar is intended to have mass appeal showcasing everything from Absolut and Patron to Pappy and Weller. There will be two to three cocktails on draft, but you’ll be just as welcome to order a beer and shot as you are to request a crystal clear cube of ice for your whiskey. On the wine side, they’re easing in with a list that skips the usual California chardonnay and cabernet in favor of selections from less well-known regions. And Jim says they’ll be building out the list with more reserve options down the line.
The Stumps worked with ultra-cool design group Arcsine to create a space that blends a pinch of French bistro aesthetic with the familiar warmth of the classic New American neighborhood restaurant. Elizabeth Dillon explains that the goal was to incorporate unexpected elements into the design — like the towering mural of a cat eyeing several colorful birds that’s ensconced in the entryway and a black-and-white ampersand mosaic that’s embedded in the floor. Dillon also included items unique to the couple by way of a gallery wall that showcases family photos and memorabilia. Natural textures like walnut and stone callout to the nearby Santa Cruz Mountains, which also appear in a mural along the dining room wall, while antique mirrors and beadboard lend vintage style.
Shepherd & Sims is now open Wednesday through Sunday for happy hour and dinner.