Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, House of Genji has been serving fresh Japanese fare with flair from its menu of titillating tappan-style dishes (which include soup, salad, vegetables, and rice) and artfully rolled sushi since 1971. Grab a cocktail at the bar and marvel at the chef’s knife skills, flipping finesse, and bold disregard of your mother’s threats to ground him as he playfully executes table tricks and nimbly tosses each succulent morsel onto your plate with bite-sized precision. The tableside entertainment and modern décor make House of Genji an ideal venue for social gatherings, though customers should be aware that a 15% gratuity will be added for parties of seven or more.
While the ancients interpreted one flame on the horizon as heralding imminent war and two flames as "party at Dave's house," three flames have always signaled suppertime. Today's Groupon gets you $40 worth of generous American cuisine at Three Flames Restaurant for $20. This Groupon can be used for dinner only, and you can combine two for $80 worth of food if you bring along the rest of your barbershop quartet. Take the drive down Meridian Avenue for a classic night out with live entertainment and sumptuous fare from both land and sea.
With a 65-foot long buffet and a 38-year history, The Drying Shed is much more than a regular steak house. Succulent surf-and-turf dishes form the buffet spread at lunch and dinner, and on weekends, the expanse highlights prime rib and lobster tail or turns into a brunch and champagne affair. À la carte specialties from the regular dinner menu include filet mignon, Alaskan halibut steak, and imported Danish baby back ribs.
The Drying Shed accommodates parties big and small with its expansive facilities and tireless kitchen staff. Guests can pop in for a family meal or stage an event such as a wedding reception, baptisms, showers, birthdays, and other parties up to 400 guests.
Samba's menu spans continents, uniting dishes toasted over the leaping flames of a Brazilian grill with those cooked in the heated clay interior of a tandoor oven. Samba's signature rodizio dinners deliver skewered meats to tables, where they are carved by servers directly onto diners' plates. Picanha, a cut of beef, is a popular choice. For those who would rather not indulge in the all-you-can-eat option, the picanha burger—covered in mozzarella, grilled mushrooms, and peppers—offers a taste of the Brazilian beef.
Indian offerings include seven types of naan bread, chicken tikka masala, and biryani rice entrees. Samba serves Mediterranean as well, from hummus appetizers to shish kebab lunches and pizzas dotted with feta cheese.
Though the food comes from various regions, the venue positions diners under the same sky—or at least a ceiling charmingly painted to mimic the clouds. Samba also celebrates birthdays with exceptional fanfare: drums, tambourines, and song, instead of the traditional treat of fine-dining establishments, a lobster clutching candles in its claws. This excitement also extends to the upcoming 2014 World Cup beginning in June, during which the restaurant will air the contests with a family-friendly atmosphere.
Manhattan Steakhouse & Bar serves up an extensive menu of fine steakhouse dinner in elegant environs. An order of escargot in champagne, garlic, and parmesan butter ($10.95) or a breadcrumb-coated, fried brie-cheese wedge ($11.95) revs up stomach engines before main meal events. A vast selection of entrée salads offers an abundance of ground-grown sustenance ($6.95+), alongside hearty eats from land and sea, such as the New York Roquefort, an aged, black Angus topped with crumbled blue cheese ($26.95), or pistachio-crusted halibut ($28.95). With dim lighting and city-skyline décor, the eatery's ritzy mid-century vibe and long, full bar welcome guests to settle in for wine or decadent specialty cocktails, such as the white-chocolate raspberry truffle, a mix of Godet, Chambord, amaretto, and white cacao. Reservations, like wearing chain mail while wrestling a bear, are highly recommended but not required.
Head chef Scott Sauer oversees a rotating menu of inventive cuisine catered to discerning Fresnan tongues fluent in gourmet. The dinner menu raises the curtain with an appetizing aria of jalapeno-enhanced sweet-potato fries ($9) or calamari ($10) dotted with roasted sweet peppers. The feta-cheese and poppy-seed dressing of the strawberry and spinach salad ($12) likewise provides a sweet counterpart to savory evening entrees such as the osso bucco–style short ribs ($27), served with braised greens and polenta cake, and the Peruvian potato-crusted salmon ($27). Dining dates, meanwhile, can keep their busy hands doggy-bag-free for a romantic evening of casino implosions and roller-tango with light entrees such as the petite filet mignon ($26) and the crab cakes with house-made tartar sauce ($16). Before capping things off with a dessert of cinnamon-raisin bread pudding ($6) or crispy boysenberry pie ($5), be sure to take a scenic detour among Max's extensive list of wines by the bottle or glass, draft beers, and specialty martinis, including the Pretty Woman ($11), which blends Stolichnaya strawberry, orange juice, and strawberry puree with a champagne float and a lock of Julia Roberts's hair.