505 E San Carlos St
San Jose, CA 95112
I went last Sunday evening with a girl friend to an Elite Yelper event. The sun was descending, and a lovely beach-like breeze was lifting the heat off our skin. It seemed a shame to be indoors, even in SJ, especially since it is usually a lot warmer. The weather made Naglee seem an "It" place to be with its casual picnic tables, cozy bar and live music. I liked the neighborhood feel of the place--it is plunked right in the middle of a residential area--and I could imagine cozying up to someone special and enjoying a movie there on a summer night. In fact, the Sound of Music will be projected on one of its walls some time soon.
As guests of Naglee, we were offered yummy samplings--buffet style-- from its menu. I confined myself to the flavorful and gorgeous veggies: red and yellow beets marinated in vinegar, asparagus spears sliced and steamed to this (how did they do this) tender-but-crunchy consistency, bruschetta (very tasty), baby brussels sprouts coated with some kind of addictive cream sauce (who knew brussel sprouts could be so good). My favorite (and it was a close fight with the brussels sprouts) was the butternut squash. It's called gratin, I was told, because of the dish it is baked in. The squash looks like it has been sliced thin and layered. It's soft, but not mushy, and is topped sparingly with some kind of cheese. Not sure what the flavors were, but it was mild (which is appropriate for the subtle flavor of squash) and amazingly good. Apparently, others thought so too.
There was also chicken, and a whole salmon, but I didn't try them. (Though I love cows, and don't eat them, I am not a vegetarian. Anyways, I wouldn't be surprised if they were very good.) As the designated driver, I also did not try the interesting-looking booze in attractive bottles that people around me were enjoying. Next time.
I want to underscore how beautiful the veggies looked. So vibrant in color. Yeah, so beets are naturally a lovely wine color, but those beets looked absolutely radiant. Nice presentation contrasting the colors!
A band was playing upbeat tunes the whole time. Noise level was just right--loud, but not too loud that you had to shout. They were also right there, in front of you--adding to the cozy, neighborhoody-feel of the place. Problem is, I do not like country. At all. That said, the quality of their playing sounded good and they weren't unbearable, even though they did country covers of songs like "Centerfold."
Except for one young guy who ignored me though I passed by him several times, the staff at Naglee was very hospitable. They replenished the food before it ran out, offered drinks and laid-back kindness. They also didn't kick us out though we lingered hours past our reserved time.