Set in a quaint Victorian, Chez TJ has launched the careers of innumerable culinary talents-and the latest chef at the helm, Jarad Gallagher, is more than worthy of its legacy. Though it may seem old-fashioned for its high-tech Mountain View zip code, this former home, stuffed with flowers and Tiffany lamps, has a throwback appeal that's perfect for escaping the demands of technology. Outstanding, gracious servers only add to the pleasure. Two menus are offered in this dining room: an eight-course exploration into NorCal-centric seasonal fare, or a 17-course chef's tasting loaded with luxurious global ingredients. Both exhibit thoughtful technique, from supremely fresh abalone over creamy polenta and cured squab to golden-crusted halibut with parsnip purée, lobster, and chanterelle mushrooms. Even a simple cube of Crenshaw melon, strewn with prosciutto di Parma, dissolves magnificently in the mouth. Intimacy is at a premium in the petite space, where an upscale crowd comes to celebrate special occasions. And when it comes to romantic, timeless settings, Chez TJ is unparalleled-especially for oenophiles, who will want to sample the small-production wines, several of which are made just for the restaurant.
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