If humankind never learned to play with its food, it would never have learned to play with its ingredients, and the world would be one bereft bowl of gruel. Taste the fruits of culinary creativity with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of dinner fare at Isadore's in Manteca.
For more than 20 years, Isadore's has made its mark in fine dining, serving cooked-to-order steak, seafood, and pasta dishes. Evening hungers are quenched by elegant entrees, each backed by a full entourage of extras, including soup or salad, veggies, and complimentary cheese fondue with an assortment of warm breads. A plethora of Angus steaks ($26–$36) graze the menu, providing a range of prime tastes suitable for an emperor or delusional emperor penguin. Diners can also forgo beef entrees to hang a fang on the succulent rack of lamb ($28). Design-conscious diners can customize pasta bowls with one of seven noodle varieties smothered in one of six flavorful sauces ($16). For a bowl with extra oomph, add hearty nibbles of rib-eye steak, jumbo prawns, or rock shrimp ($9 each), which struts out in studded leather pants. All seafood arrives fresh daily on ice and is cleaned and filleted on the premises. An extensive wine list provides flavorful libations that pair pleasantly with many menu items.
When a 13-year-old Isadore Fang began washing dishes at a Sunnyvale restaurant called The Bold Knight, he had no way of knowing he would later own the sink where he performed his humble duties. Eventually, the ambitious restaurateur would own multiple establishments, including The Rendezvous in Fremont and Isadore's, his labor of love since 1989.
There—together with his wife and co-owner Laurel—Fang leads a dedicated staff whose attention to detail earned praises in a 2008 article in the Record. Courteous servers top white-clothed tables with fresh seafood and certified Angus steaks alongside traditional Italian pastas. Semiprivate booths let couples share intimate conversations or the complimentary cheese fondue and warm french bread served with every dinner upon request. Between sips of wine from an extensive list, diners can glance toward the elevated stage where live musicians occasionally play. Alternatively, admire hand-painted murals on the walls, one of which depicts the tranquil, seaside village where Leonardo da Vinci invented the olive-oil mister.
Outside the restaurant, the Fangs' emphasis on serving others carries over to charity work: they have been featured on ABC News10 for helping to send food packages to American troops.