With tableside martini carts, majestic preparations of dry-aged roast crown of duck for two on Richard Ginori plates and a building that has housed restaurants since the 1930s, it’s easy for Selby’s to transport guests to a time when the idea of Silicon Valley didn’t exist. The space on El Camino Real (most recently housing Chantilly) is the latest from Bacchus Management Group (of one- Michelin-starred The Village Pub and Spruce). Bacchus co-founder Tim Stannard wanted to honor the address’ past and create a restaurant that could serve a mighty steak and martini. Selby’s presents a 2019 take on classic upscale American cuisine, with no shortage of ritzy glamor a la Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Executive chef Mark Sullivan and Jason Pringle, the chef de cuisine, look to the Continental fare of the Craig Claiborne-Julia Child era as they reinvigorate the likes of braised rabbit vol-au-vent and flambéed desserts. A wealth of produce is grown by SMIP Ranch just for Bacchus. Selby’s is by no means just a steakhouse, but does boast ultraprime cuts from the highly regarded Flannery Beef. The often-rich food begs for a stiff martini, which, at Selby’s, is served in a glass rinsed with dry vermouth and topped with gin straight from the freezer. The restaurant also boasts separate cellars for white, red and sparkling wines: a selection from 3,000 to 4,000 producers around the world (for a total of 20,000 bottles in stock)—surely among the most extensive wine lists in the U.S.
Only an armoire in the entrance foyer remains from the Chantilly days; interiors man Stephen Brady (formerly of Ralph Lauren Home) transformed Selby’s into a sleek, clubby stunner with elegant dark green mohair walls and spectacular brass work and chandeliers by G. Magnus Schevene. A limestone fireplace imported from France anchors the main dining room. The lounge, private rooms and a poker room are filled with period art and black-and-white photos curated with San Francisco’s Lost Art Salon, adding to the classic Golden Age of Hollywood aesthetic. Just make sure to put that iPhone away to complete the trip back in time. Nightly, 5-10 pm, 3001 El Camino Real, 650.546.7700