Review: San Jose’s Braise brings inventive small plates to Willow Glen

Since Braise opened in the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose this fall, getting into its lime-green barn-style door without a reservation has been difficult. The town’s excited, understandably. The last fine-dining restaurant to open here was Black Sheep Brasserie back in 2015.

And while Braise is smaller and slightly more casual, its vegetable-forward menu and small plates focus makes it a great alternative for Black Sheep fans as well as regulars at The Table, also on Lincoln Avenue.

Braise chef and partner Anthony Jimenez comes from The Table, and you’ll see elements of his upscale comfort food on the menu. Owner and fellow South Bay chef Josh Hanoka of Bray Butcher Block brings the meat savvy, with items like pastrami lamb tongue and a New York strip steak with smoked trout butter.

Braise’s menu is divided into Bites ($7-$12), Small Plates ($12 each), Mains ($20-$27) and Communal ($18-$36) with a dozen cocktails ($11 each) and a focused, by-the-glass wine list ($10-$16). For a balanced cocktail that pairs well with food, try the gin-based The National made with grapefruit, cinnamon, cacao, lemon and sparkling wine in a flute.

As with many modern restaurants, the small plates were the most exciting part of the menu. I strongly recommend you start with the Cheddar Beignets ($7). These warm, two-bite beauties are impossibly soft and gooey, with just the right amount of pungent aged white cheddar flavor balanced with sweet local honey.

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I loved the inventive Crispy Chickpea, a flavorful, cumin-scented loaf of chickpea puree baked with masa, according to our server, and topped with caramelized onions, roasted cauliflower and blistered shisito peppers. The nutty Braised Sunchokes served with creamed tahini kale is so seductive in flavor and texture that it will make you forget about boring brussels.

From the main dishes, we selected the chile

Source:: East Bay – Lifestyle

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