New toque in town: The Menlo Grill celebrated the anniversary of its rebranding (it was formerly the Duck Club) with a bash featuring the new executive chef, Chuck Courtney. If you've missed checking out this bistro-bar combination, well, it's hiding in plain sight on El Camino Real, right inside the Stanford Park Hotel in Menlo Park. Courtney, a veteran of restaurants in Seattle and Palm Springs (most recently the Viceroy), is aiming to raise the profile of the Menlo Grill, and he's off to a good start.
The menu has been revamped, and will change seasonally. Summertime's lineup brings heirloom tomato soup and panzanella salad; a Berkshire pork chop with Brentwood corn; a chicken salad with stone fruit and berries; a lobster roll with avocado; and a vegetable lasagna with grilled squash, burrata and kale. He's also kicked off a series of Thursday Night BBQ events on the patio ($25 for baby back ribs with applejack barbecue sauce, cornbread, baked beans and strawberry shortcake). This being a hotel, Courtney and his staff are cooking and baking all day and all night. Details: Open daily at 100 El Camino Real, Menlo Park. 650-330-2790; www.menlogrill.com.
Saratoga sipping: A new wine-tasting venue opens this week in Saratoga. Michael Martella of Martella Wines and Michael Michaud of Michaud Vineyard have created the M4 Tasting Room. A July 26 winemakers
Kudos and congrats: Wine Spectator magazine has announced its 2012 Restaurant Wine List Awards, with four of the 75 coveted spots on the "Grand Awards" list going to U.S. restaurants. Among the honorees: San Francisco's Acquerello and Big Sur's Sierra Mar at the Post Ranch Inn. Restaurants who earn that ranking typically have wine lists with more than 1,500 selections that represent the full range of the world's most prestigious wineries. To see the full list, visit www.winespectator.
Send South Bay and Peninsula dining tips to Linda Zavoral at email@example.com.