La Forêt is destined to be your new old favorite MANY OF US WHO GREW UP IN THE AREA WILL RECALL DINING AT LA FORÊT AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER. It has been the go-to fine dining restaurant for many a special occasion for over 35 years – birthdays, anniversaries, graduations – if there was something to celebrate, La Forêt was the place to go. And it continues to be a favorite place for celebrations until now.
Set deep in the Almaden Valley, the restaurant is located in what used to be the Hacienda Hotel which once housed employees of the Quicksilver Mining Company. Later, in the 1930’s, it became the Café Del Rio Restaurant before becoming what we now know as La Forêt.
With the news of chef-owner of almost 40 years, John Davoudi retiring, there was fear that this legendary restaurant would close its doors – or perhaps worse — the doors would remain open under new management, but would never be the same.
But not to worry, enter the Carrubba brothers, Maurice and Giuseppe, who are masters at transforming old-school restaurants. They take grand old restaurants and add their special touch without disrupting or taking away what we’ve always loved, but revitalizing exactly what needs to be revitalized.
If you have been to the Mount Hamilton Grandview Restaurant, you know what I’m talking about. The Carrubba brothers certainly have found their niche: Destination Dining. Both Mount Hamilton Grandview Restaurant and La Forêt are a bit off the beaten path, but with the views and the ambience to make the drive more than worth it.
But aside from the pretty views (you’ll feel as if you have been transported to the French countryside), the food at La Forêt is excellent. La Forêt continues to impress with its classic French menu – many of the original dishes remain, as do the chefs, saucier, and wait staff. La Forêt also continues to use the same purveyors, with the addition of fresh eggs and produce from their own Grandview Farms.
New touches at the restaurant include a gorgeous transformation in the bar (brick walls, plush new seating and elegant chandeliers) and the dining room (dark wood paneling and beamed ceilings, rich wall paper and white linen tablecloths). The private dining area upstairs is equally lovely. Maurice credits his wife Melissa and Charlie’s Home Fashion with La Forêt’s refreshed vintage charm.
But good looks aren’t everything and La Forêt has the food to prove it. From the bread to the cappuccino, everything is absolutely delicious. We put ourselves in the capable hands of Giuseppe Carrubba to guide us through our meal.
We started with the bread – and what an auspicious beginning. The bread is baked by La Forêt’s in-house baker – a flavorful sourdough with a crusty exterior and a tender, chewy interior, perfect for sopping up amazing sauces. And then the escargot, which were perfectly prepared (not chewy as can happen when not properly cooked) and submerged in a flavorful butter and Pernod sauce. Next came a delicious Romaine Salad made with crisp Romaine lettuce, fresh chevre, and toasted pumpkin seeds.
The next course was our favorite: Lobster Ravioli – lobster encased in handmade pasta, made with the fresh eggs from Grandview Farms, swimming in a stunning sauce redolent with rich lobster and fish stock, plenty of butter and a touch of thyme. This is something that should not be missed. Our next course was Roasted Elk with Portobello mushrooms and a savory cognac reduction. La Forêt is known for serving a variety of wild game and the elk did not disappoint. By this time we were nearly defeated by Giuseppe’s tour of the menu, but the famed La Forêt soufflé is an experience not to be missed. The same chef has been whipping up this heavenly concoction for many years and he is, indeed, an expert at his craft. The soufflé is light as clouds with just a whisper of Grand Marnier.
If it’s been a while since you’ve been to La Forêt, or if you have not had the chance to visit La Forêt in its new incarnation, be sure to take the scenic drive into Almaden Valley to experience what fine dining is truly about. La Forêt is also available for Corporate Events and Wedding up to 130 people. The welcoming and attentive service, a lovely setting and remarkable food are sure to make this old favorite a new one again.
21747 Bertram Road San Jose, Ca 95120
408.997.3458 • LaFoeretRestaurant.com