First things first. If you were expecting tuna melts, slices of pie and “Happy Days” decor at award-winning chef Bradley Ogden’s newest venture, a diner in Menlo Park, think again. BFD (Bradley’s Fine Diner) is an upscale diner, a large (seating for 100 inside, 60 outside) rustic-meets-modern space that features Ogden’s twists on Americana.
Right now, dinner is the only meal served, but weekend brunch will start soon, and Americana will be put to the test next week, as BFD plans a four-course “early Thanksgiving” dinner from noon to 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 24.
We stopped by for some bites off the autumn menu and were smitten with the starters: a bold Pork Belly “Buffalo Style” with a Maytag Blue Cheese Souffle and Arugula; BBQ Wild Prawns with (addictive) Grits; and a Country Pate whose richness was cut by pickled persimmons.
On the entree menu, the Petaluma Free Range Chicken Breast comes with a fall squash panzanella, and the ample-yet-still-light seafood stew features Lassen trout. Ogden’s new desserts are homey, but we can never pass up his signature Butterscotch Pudding.
Alas, the opening of this Peninsula restaurant means that we in 408 land can no longer count Ogden as one of our own. He told us he sold his San Jose home and relocated to Redwood City so he could be closer to BFD. His son, Bryan, was instrumental in launching the first BFD, in Houston.
BTW, BFD is well-situated for train commuters from San Francisco or downtown San Jose: It’s located across the street from Caltrain at 1165 Merrill St. 650-494-4342; www.bradleysfinediner.com.