Gourmet Cellar

This is the second Japanese/European restaurant to open in the last few months. More than a restaurant, Gourmet Cellar is also a food and wine shop, and a deli. Fortunately, with two stories and abundant floor space, it can comfortably accommodate these different services. We were seated at a nice window table, which marked the start of a pleasant dining experience. Servers were courteous, attentive and thorough throughout. No service charge is imposed here, so servers work for tips and are, we hope, motivated as a result. We ordered roasted Portobello mushrooms and California maki to start, with beef tenderloin and an assortment of robatayaki, Japanese barbequed items on skewers for our mains. The generous and tasty maki was the first to arrive. Next on our table was a lonely single roasted Portobello mushroom blanketed in salad. We expected more than one mushroom, and thought the salad was limp. The dressing, though, was nice—and complemented the mushroom well. Our mains were an equally mixed bag. The beef, which we had wanted cooked medium, was well done. To the restaurant’s credit, they offered to change our beef immediately when we made the fact known— and put dessert on the house. We declined to change the beef as the rest of the dish—asparagus, mashed potatoes and gravy—was delicious, and the restaurant still stood by its dessert offer. Our barbeque skewers comprised beef, bacon, gingko nuts, and three types of chicken. The skewers were full of flavor but skimpy. Dessert was the highlight. We had crème brule with boysenberry ice cream and avocado financier. The various ingredients tasted great on their own and were also a perfect match. Coming in a close second was the warm chocolate fondant with vanilla. While this restaurant could raise the bar in their kitchen a few notches, we liked the setting and found the service outstanding. We tipped well and felt it was worth it. BYO. No service charge.