Saturday, March 09, 2013

Review: Fahrenheit Ultra Lounge

There is a hidden gem downtown San Jose. It's not hidden in the sense that it's hard to find, in a secluded part of town, or some back alley. In fact it is prominently located on the corner of Third and San Fernando. The Fahrenheit Ultra Lounge is a restaurant, hiding in a Nightclub's shadow!

We wandered over to Fahrenheit after a function in the area. For years we simply avoided it thinking it would be a typical club, throwing out plates of barely passable slop to half in the bag patrons who didn't care much anyways. If this is your impression as well, you couldn't be more wrong!

First of all, the dining room is a swanky lounge, with funky banquettes that can seat a party of almost any size. We were just two, and the comfortable four top near the bar was perfectly suited for pleasant dining. The room was not loud, and it was well lighted to make for a very enjoyable dining atmosphere.

The menu was not huge, but had a great selection, a little of everything; poultry, fish, and steaks, pork, and vegetarian options were all available at very reasonable prices. Christine, our server, made sure that we were aware of the daily specials, and took great care of us all evening. Such good care in fact that my dining companion is arranging to hold a small function at the restaurant.

From the Flirtations section of the menu we ordered a couple of starters to share; Pastrami Pork Belly: Kurabota Pork Belly | Whole Grain Mustard | Bubbie's Sauerkraut $9 and The Chef's Daily Soup: Broccolini with Basil oil $6. The pork belly was melt in your mouth tender, with light grill marks; you could really taste the smoky, fatty pork. The mustard and sauerkraut was the perfect amount of acid to balance the fattiness. It was served with toast points. The soup was wonderful; our server split it into two bowls, making it very easy to share. It was light and brothy, yet still a cream based soup. It was drizzled with a touch of basil oil and garnished with micro greens.

On to the main plates, or as they call them, Commitments; I ordered the Crispy Duck Breast: Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast | Forbidden Rice | Broccoli Rabe | Citrus Demi  $23. My dining companion, being an avid fan of fine beef chose the Cowboy Bone-in Rib-eye: 22oz Creekstone Natural Beef | Creamed Cauliflower $38. Both dishes are absolute winners, in terms of value however, if you love beef, you have to get this steak! I'm not even sure how they can afford to sell this monster so cheap! The duck was sublime! Flawlessly seasoned, the skin was crispy as promised, and the breast a perfect medium rare. The forbidden rice had the right amount of texture, and layers of flavors including a light back note of vanilla, the broccoli rabe had a light smokiness, and the demi was just the right amount of acid and sweet. It was like a game, building the perfect bite, a little of each on my fork.

The Cowboy Steak was Epic! The sheer magnitude of this slab of beef made us cry out whoa when it arrived at the table. Served atop a cauliflower puree, with roasted Yukon Gold potatoes, it was cooked to a perfect mid-rare, and was juicy, tender and flavorful. This gargantuan tomahawk steak was exquisitely seasoned, and had a crusty char that made you want to pick up the bone and gnaw on it!

For dessert we shared Fahrenheit's version of Banana Fosters, it was a lighter version, not as sweet as the original, and it made a great finale to our meal. Served with fried won tons that had been tossed in cinnamon sugar, it was akin to eating dessert nachos. The bananas were warmed and the entire dessert was drizzled in a caramel rum sauce and raspberry coulis.

The amazing thing about Fahrenheit is that on a Friday night, you can go there and get a fantastic meal, at a reasonable price, with great service. Why? Because this great restaurant is hidden inside of a nightclub.