The Hotel Grano de Oro has long been downtown San José’s most elegant boutique hotel. And their in-house restaurant has always been one of my favorites. But they’ve kicked things up several notches of late. Invited for another look on a recent night, I was surprised—and often wowed—by some of the changes and improvements.
The Grano de Oro now boasts a 110+ label wine list, including several premium wines offered up by the glass. During a pre-dinner visit to the restaurant’s beautiful new wine cellar, we were treated to a tasty ceviche with avocado foam, crisp crostini with homemade pate, and a bite-sized slice of salmon and goat cheese crepe.
Other menu highlights include a slow poached salmon in a vanilla sauce, served with raspberry pearls and green-apple compote. Escargot come already taken out of their shells, sautéed in butter and served over a garlic flan, with a foamy parsley sauce.
Chef Francis Canal has embraced elements of contemporary Fusion cuisine and molecular cooking techniques—without overdoing it or falling into cliché. The palette-cleansing arugula sorbet was cunning, a deft balance of sweet and bitter that perfectly performed its designated task.
Our main course was a roasted duck breast served with a caramelized fig on a round of roasted butternut squash and sautéed snow peas, all graced with a pate-smeared breadstick.
On this night, the popular Grano de Oro pie, a decadent chocolate and mocha delight that I usually order, was replaced by a delicate dark chocolate globe upon which a warm white chocolate and espresso mixture is poured, melting the whole thing into a lush dessert “soup.”