By the time you read this, the menu will have changed, maybe a couple of times. That's the confident vow from owner Vickie Breslin who recently opened The Post in downtown Los Altos.
Breslin was already familiar with the property, having worked at First and Main Sports Lounge for years. It is in the historic Copeland Building, which was built in 1911 and once housed the Los Altos Post Office. When the sports bar closed, she signed a lease and also took over the adjacent space, Estatements consignment shop. She then hired the Midglen Studio Architects in Woodside to create a "modern, rustic feeling restaurant," Breslin said.
Uniting the two spaces took some doing, but the results work. While the old First and Main dining room had cosmetic updates, the Estatements side was completely gutted and rebuilt into a sleek, contemporary 16-seat bar with booths and tables for dining and imbibing.
Breslin is a born and bred Peninsula native who has spent 15 years in the local restaurant business doing everything from event planning to bartending. When First and Main closed, she said, "it was time to strike out on my own and I knew Los Altos better than anyplace else." Breslin's intent is to provide comfort food "you can feel good about."
On my visits, the bar was loud when busy, but the dining room was subdued and filled with families. A wall with windows separates the two. While The Post is bar-centric, the food was not an afterthought. Servings were generous. Service was good, though on one occasion, our table wasn't bused before the next course arrived.
For starters, the chicken Parmesan meatballs ($15) served in an iron skillet oozed with mozzarella, pomodoro sauce and basil leaves comfort food of the highest order. Breslin plans to rotate different kinds of meatballs, including pork, beef, lamb, chicken and prosciutto.
The whimsical Totcho's ($12) were tater tots blanketed with melted cheddar cheese, bacon jam and ranch dressing. It's a riff on nachos, fun as bar bites, but not quite up to the other appetizers.
The cauliflower hot wings ($11) were terrific. Roasted cauliflower was tossed with buffalo wing sauce and drizzled with ranch dressing. The wing sauce had a slight zing but could be amped up on request. That was a table favorite.
The fresh, delicate, seared ahi tuna ($16) was served with seaweed salad, pickled ginger and wasabi, with a ginger-soy sauce. It was melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
For entrées, the American heritage pork shoulder ($24) had been slow-cooked with beer, citrus, red chilis and onion, served with cilantro rice and roasted spicy squash, and topped with tangerine-serrano salsa and crema. Sounds complicated but it had ample flavor, texture and color.
The wild salmon ($28) was plated with lemon quinoa, kale, asparagus and shaved pecorino and topped with a lemony beurre blanc sauce. The red-orange salmon was very fresh. Fortunately, the kale was unobtrusive.
The tasty spinach and roasted garlic ravioli ($19) were wrapped in a pomodoro sauce with house-made ricotta cheese and basil. Pomodoro sauce is thicker and less chunky than a marinara but with the same basic ingredients.
The fried chicken ($24) came with mashed potatoes, a large homemade buttermilk biscuit, sausage gravy and a mountain of vegetables. It was an enormous serving of goodness. The biscuit and gravy alone would have made an appetizing meal. The chicken was crisp and juicy. My single complaint was that the half breast had been cut in half again, but not a good cut, and each bite resulted with a splinter of bone in my mouth.
Desserts, all large, were $9. The warm chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich was locally sourced but the bread pudding and brownie sundae were house-made and delectable.
The Post creates its own cocktails along with craft beers and a reasonably priced wine list that pairs well with the comfort food menu. There's a daily happy hour and brunch on Sundays.
At first glance, the corner of First and Main looks like it has for years. Once inside, though, the vibe says good food, good libations and good times for families and friends.
Freelance writer Dale Bentson can be emailed at [email protected].
395 Main St., Los Altos
Hours: Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Monday, 4-9:30 p.m.; Tuesday-Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Thursday-Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Credit cards: yes
Parking: city lots
Alcohol: full bar
Happy hour: 4-7:30 p.m. daily
Corkage: first bottle free, $20 thereafter
Outdoor dining: no
Noise level: loud in bar
Bathroom cleanliness: excellent