I had a great dinner the other night at Hult's, the new restaurant in Los Gatos that took over the old Hobee's space on Los Gatos-Saratoga Road. And the story behind the restaurant was just as good.

Owner Alexander Hult is a 29-year-old former pro hockey player from Sweden who was drafted by the Sharks but never made it to San Jose because of an injury. He played hockey in Europe and then moved to Las Vegas with hopes of becoming a professional card player. Though that career wasn't in the cards, he ended up a winner, anyway, when he met his future wife, who happened to be Miss Nevada of 2011.

He finally got that trip to San Jose -- Sarah Hult's hometown -- when they moved to the valley to be closer to her family. Hult's parents were both cooks and she grew up around the restaurant business, so opening a restaurant was a natural idea for the couple when the Hobee's space became available last fall.

They made the very smart move of bringing in Executive Chef Michael Ellis, who previously worked at Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, and they put together a hearty menu filled with organic touches. It probably has one of the best values in a restaurant-heavy town: The "Hult's Experience," a three-course seasonal tasting menu that comes in four themes -- "Land" (beef); "Air" (poultry); "Water" (seafood) or "Earth" (vegetarian) -- for $39.


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"I wanted to create a place that people could come every week and not just on special occasions," Hult said. He's been at the restaurant nearly every day since it opened late last year, and Sarah Hult juggles being co-owner of a restaurant with her day job as vice principal at the Stratford School's Santa Clara preschool.

Some famous faces have come by the restaurant, including actor Matthew McConaughey and more than a few hockey players from the Sharks and other teams.

ALL THAT JAZZ: Willow Glen Middle School eighth-grader Carlos Solorzano has been selected as a bass player for the California Junior High All-State Jazz Band, one of a few students who made the cut out of more than 1,700 students who submitted audition CDs.

School staff members and parents are covering the costs for his trip to Fresno next week, where he'll attend the state music educator's convention and perform with the band.

Contact Sal Pizarro at spizarro@mercurynews.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/spizarro.