San Jose, CA

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Jim Ross
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2003/10/28 21:17:38 (permalink)

San Jose, CA

I'm going to be in San Jose next week and would love to find some memorable Roadfood type places to eat. Nothing fancy, but ideally something unique. I'm already primed to try In and Out Burgers.
I love seafood.

Thanks for any help,
#1

25 Replies Related Threads

    EliseT
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/10/29 03:12:52 (permalink)
    My brother recommends the Flying Pig Pub. They get really fresh crab in the Bay area so their crabcakes are good and they have microbrews on tap. Also Willow Street Pizza if you want to try California wood-fired style pizzas (you New Yorkers just settle down, now).
    #2
    Poverty Pete
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/10/29 06:35:52 (permalink)
    You should go to Joe's Italian, and try a Joe's Special. It's basically a scramble of eggs, spinach and mushrooms; often imitated, never duplicated.
    #3
    Jim Ross
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/10/30 09:08:30 (permalink)
    Thanks for the responses, crab cakes and any kind of pizza are favorites of mine. Joe's sounds good too. I'll be traveling alone on business, is Joe's the place you can set at the counter and watch the cooks work?
    #4
    1bbqboy
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/10/30 11:59:17 (permalink)
    will you have a car? how long is your stay? are you restricted to SJ proper? a little ways up the peninsulia on 101 in Redwood City is middlfield Rd. check out this
    :http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2003/10/29/FDGI02H5L41.DTL
    #5
    Jim Ross
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/10/30 15:08:18 (permalink)
    I'll have a car, but will be putting in long days next week. Probably won't be traveling very far from the Silicon Valley Holiday Inn. I will have a longer trip over year end with hopefully several free days so I'll remember the URL.
    #6
    cherwook
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/10/30 20:22:03 (permalink)
    I've lived in San Jose for most of my life and haven't heard of Joe's Italian - but do know of Original Joe's (OJ's) on 1st street. That's where you sit at the counter and watch the chefs work it. It's a great atmosphere, good place to meet friends and have a drink in the plush lounge.

    For fish, try Steamers in Los Gatos, or the Fish Market in Sunnyvale, or Scott's in downtown San Jose.
    #7
    Poverty Pete
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/10/30 21:08:29 (permalink)
    That's the place I was thinking of.
    #8
    Bushie
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/10/30 21:17:41 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by cherwook

    I've lived in San Jose for most of my life and haven't heard of Joe's Italian - but do know of Original Joe's (OJ's) on 1st street. That's where you sit at the counter and watch the chefs work it. It's a great atmosphere, good place to meet friends and have a drink in the plush lounge.

    For fish, try Steamers in Los Gatos, or the Fish Market in Sunnyvale, or Scott's in downtown San Jose.

    That's the name; Original Joe's. Great scramble, as Poverty Pete mentioned.

    I've eaten at Scott's in San Jose, and I believe I've eaten at every Fish Market up and down CA. I loved them all. (Never tried Steamers, though.)

    cherwook, do you remember a little place downtown, used to be across from the Holiday Inn (if I remember right), called Original Pizza House (again, if I remember right)??? It was a place that had a long bar in the middle, with seats and booths surrounding the bar. I ate there a few times in the early 80's, then when I returned in the late 80's, it was closed (I think to make room for the convention center expansion) and had moved farther south. The new location wasn't near as good as I remembered.

    Anyway, I used to tell people about this "great pizza I had in San Jose", and I'm wondering if you knew about this place.
    #9
    cherwook
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/10/30 21:29:04 (permalink)
    And...for very original pizza, try the House of Pizza - I think it's on Vine - near the convention center. It used to be in a real old dumpy building, and always crowded. When they did all the urban upgrades downtown - the plan was to tear down the building and put an end to the House of Pizza. Fortunately, there was enough of a clamor so it's now located in a new building. The pizza is cut in squares, with the cheese on top of all of the other trimmings. I've never had anything like it anywhere else.

    San Jose has always been the butt of the Bay Area jokes - but there are plenty of old Japanese, Mexican, Italian and Chinese families around that have contributed mightily to San Jose cuisine. Ignore Silicon Valley's penchant for franchised restaurants and you can find some tasty stuff in good ol' downtown San Jose.

    #10
    cherwook
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/10/30 21:39:04 (permalink)
    That's funny, Bushie. I was writing about House of Pizza while you were thinking about it. Yes, very original and exactly the story you described.

    I haven't been there recently, and have heard both opinions - good as ever and too cleaned up. Guess Jim can be the official, unbiased, taste tester.

    Fishmarket and Scott's are more fun than Steamers - a 90's outpost of yuppiedom - but it is in a great location in Los Gatos, not too hard to get to from downtown San Jose. Most out-of-town visitors appreciate the town of Los Gatos as a respite from Silicon Valley. It's pretty, small, very walkable and crowded with good, non-franchised, restaurants.
    #11
    Bushie
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/10/31 08:29:07 (permalink)
    Thanks, cherwook! Nice to hear they're still open at the "new" location.
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    Jim Ross
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/11/01 11:47:05 (permalink)
    Thank you for all the recommendations, I'm compiling a nice list of possibilities.
    #13
    marberthenad
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/11/01 21:23:05 (permalink)
    For a morning pick me up, it's worth a visit to Lou's Living Donut Museum located on the other side of the highway near the San Jose Children's Discovery Museum. Habana Cuba on Race Street is a great place for Cuban food -- great service too. Race Street Seafood kitchen, located almost across the street from Habana Cuba is a great Roadfood style seafood joint ... finally, outside of San Jose, was my favourite Mexican restaurant of all time, Vive Sol, at 2020 El Camino Real in Mountain View has great food at great prices.
    #14
    Jim Ross
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/11/04 17:08:36 (permalink)
    Thanks cherwook, I just had lunch at the Fish Market (1007 Blossom Hill Rd, San Jose). Terrific meal, the hardest part was deciding what to order. The best thing I had was the New England clam chowder and hot sourdough bread. I'll definately be going back there on my next trip, maybe even again on this one.
    #15
    capnhank
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/11/06 16:16:56 (permalink)
    Jim: While in SJ, you've got to sample some of the less ordinary food. While you'll have no problem finding excellent Mexican food (try El Rincon on Old Oakland Road or the taco wagon in front of the Pick'n'Pull on Monterey Highway), we've also got a couple of wonderful Ethiopian joints (The Red Sea on North 1st St. and Shebele in Downtown Campbell) and one of the smallest (and tastiest) vegan Vietnamese pho/banh mi shops around: the appropriately named "Fresh & Healthy Vegetarian Food to Go" on Santa Clara between 8th & 9th. Get a "pork" sandwich or their "chicken" drumettes; you'll be suprised. How about Falafel's Drive-In on San Carlos? Great banana shakes! I've also heard good things about the Kabob House Halal at Winchester and Scott in Santa Clara. San Jose may be the armpit of the Bay Area, but it's a hell of a melting pot. Try Hukilau in Japantown for great Hawaiian (or any of the excellent Japanese places in the same neighborhood). There is wonderful Southern Indian food in sleek surroundings at Dashaprakash on Homestead in Santa Clara. Finally, you must try the best BBQ in town: BCCE on Old Oakland Road! It's the converted gas station with the halved oil drums out front. Top notch stuff, if you're not too picky about your surroundings. Sam's BBQ and Andy's Oak Pit are alright, but you've got to go to the seedy side of town for the good stuff.
    In short, you can steer clear of the Olive Garden. We've got plenty of real food here. Enjoy!
    #16
    capnhank
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/11/06 17:21:15 (permalink)
    Oh my god, I almost forgot!
    Sonia's Cheesesteaks!!!
    8th and William, just south of SJSU, Downtown SJ.

    #17
    marberthenad
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/11/06 20:11:23 (permalink)
    i'd second that -- sonia's is the best
    #18
    marberthenad
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/11/06 20:59:56 (permalink)
    Another restaurant just came to mind -- maybe even worthy of a Stern review -- A Bite of Wyoming, located on Alum Rock Drive in the eastern part of San Jose. What a breakfast -- what a price. Always full and great customers, from families to truckers to gauchos. Great chorizo and eggs.

    Here is a photo of the interior -- a homage to the Buffalo, which is one of their specialities ...



    http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/06.26.03/dining-0326.html
    #19
    Jim Ross
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/11/06 21:05:54 (permalink)
    Very timely, I was just sitting here trying to decide where to eat tonight. I'd about decided on the House of Pizza, but both the BBQ and Cheesesteaks sound good. I may drive by both and decide at the last minute.

    I've eaten pretty good on the trip so far. Tuesday was interesting, I ate lunch at the Fish Market and dinner at Race Steet Seafood Kitchen and Market. Totally opposite ends of the specturm and both excellent. Fish Market was gentile, grilled healthy seafood, lots of expensive draft beer on tap, attractive young servers in corporate polo shirts, everything you would expect in a high end casual seafood restuarant. Race Street Seafood Kitchen and Market was a true Roadfood type place, very working class neighboorhood, a fish store with picnic tables in the center. Give your order to the guy wearing a baseball cap and sweatshirt at the counter and soon they hand over a tray with more perfectly fried seafood than you can eat. I had a bowl of clam chowder at both and slightly preferred the Race Street Market's. I have to confess I enjoyed the deep fried whitefish, scallops and side of fried oysters with big pile of fries more that the meskite grilled petralie sole at Fish Market.

    Last night I ate at Original Joe's on 1st Street. Definately not roadfood, but well worth a visit, (and the price" />). Had an excellent veal milanese, but the minestrone soup was kind of blah. The best part was setting at the counter, drinking a nice glass of wine and watching the cooks. They were a show all by themselves. The guy in front of me had as many as 8 saute pans going at once, throwing a handfull of minced garlic in one, then a big healthy poor of white wine in another, always plating them up at just the right time. It was like a ballet with the cooks and waiters weaving around each other with never a bump (that I saw).

    Also finally got to eat at an In-N-Out Burger place. Just plain good food. I loved the simple menu and good service. You could tell the food was made with quality ingredients. I'm adding it to my very short list of fast food places I'll patronize.
    #20
    Jim Ross
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/11/07 10:09:18 (permalink)
    The House of Pizza, 527 Almaden near the convention center is a gem and a worthy Roadfood haven. It may be a new building, but it looks like it was there for ever. It has a kind of dumpy, unpretentious ambiance that made the above average pizza taste even better. It felt like your favorite neighborhood bar. Lots of local memorbilia on the walls really gave it a unique sense of place. This was my first experience with a smoke free bar and I loved setting on the stool, visiting with the obviously local crowd while eating a great pizza, having a cold one and watching a great basketball game (sorry about the outcome Bushie, both the Spurs and Lakers were great). I had a George's Special, beef onion and lots of jalapeno . My mouth was a happy tingly warm the rest of the night. The leftovers were pretty good this morning too.
    #21
    Bushie
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/11/08 18:29:46 (permalink)
    Hey, Jim Ross, thanks for the report on House of Pizza! I think cherwook and I were both hoping you'd try it and give your opinion. I'm really glad to hear it's still a good one.
    #22
    capnhank
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/11/10 13:29:37 (permalink)
    House of Pizza is an excellent, greasy pie with "ambience" aplenty. However, I'm partial to Grande Pizzeria (4th and San Fernando) for the big pizza with saucy waitresses. They also do an excellent shellfish pasta dish with a ton of garlic. Caveat: I haven't been in a year or so. Places near campus tend to fluctuate (see Pizza A Go Go or Pizza My Heart or whatever it is this month), but I'm pretty sure Grande's the same.
    You might also try Nick's Pizza on Santa Clara. I think the Mafia's involved, but it's a good pizza.
    #23
    cherwook
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/11/11 20:39:48 (permalink)
    Thanks, Jim, for the update on House of Pizza and OJ's. I'm glad that your trip has gone well. My dad was born right off of Race Street and always makes faces about the restaurant. Apparently, when he was a young lad they did their own butchering out in back and the whole place stank. Probably more than you wanted to know. I love seafood and keep trying to get up the courage to try the restaurant, but 50 years later my dad and aunt are still bashing it.

    Also thanks to capnhank for the Nick's recommendation-used to be a favorite hangout for college students (and yes, one of my friends was from a mafia family). Also thanks for reminding me of Falafels Drive-In, another converted gas station, on Stevens Creek Blvd (it's the same street as San Carlos in downtown San Jose - just head west). That's awesome roadfood - the banana milkshakes are perfect.

    In 'n Out is a great spot for a hamburger, even if it's a chain.

    I was stuck in Dallas last week for a conference and had boring food, streets rolled up at 6pm, and I was most unhappy. Should have checked this board first for recommendations.
    #24
    capnhank
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/11/12 14:16:26 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by cherwook

    (and yes, one of my friends was from a mafia family)


    I thought it was odd that all the waiters had broken noses...

    Speaking of waiters with broken noses, I've had mixed experiences at Original Joe's. The kitchen is indeed a flaming ballet in action, but the service can range from terse to amazing. I've had waiters who treated me with undisguised contempt and others who've actually gone above and beyond the call of duty. One fellow, after bringing me a steak sandwich (literally a huge steak on a roll), responded to my request for hot sauce by pulling a small habanero pepper from his vest pocket. In my infinite wisdom, I ate it and spent the next few minutes consuming vast quantities of milk and non-dairy creamer. Turns out he'd grown it himself and was waiting for some idiot to test it out. Oh well, I guess I asked for it.
    #25
    Jim Ross
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    RE: San Jose, CA 2003/11/12 15:26:04 (permalink)
    I really appreciate all the help I got. Not only did I get recommendations for this trip, I've still got a list for when I return at year end.
    #26
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