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December 2018/January 2019 91
offerings, including briny oysters and a
revolving crudo creation that might feature
scallops, hamachi or another pristine meat
from the sea.
Given the dozen-plus starter options
and their mini portions, light-eating diners
might consider a tapas approach to get
a good taste of ASA. Those who seek more
generous servings and alluring additional
choices should proceed to the entrees. The
Basin’s simple, not-very-spicy arrabiata
pasta is done here, as is an extremely popular
mélange of eight wild mushrooms bathed in
a creamy sauce with seductive hints of garlic
wrapped around house-made fettuccine.
Guests love the pork belly, in which two
small pieces are dry rubbed, braised and
accompanied by fennel puree and apricot
chutney. ASA has double the fun of The
Basin’s duck breast by the addition of a
scrumptious confit leg, while the roasted
chicken remains juicy on both menus.
ASA offers a takeoff on bouillabaisse with
an ethereal broth, potatoes and tomatoes
poured over the fish of the day (it’s often
halibut) with a couple of Gulf shrimp.
Perfectly seared large scallops are an excellent
choice, accompanied by seasonal
risotto and amped up with crispy shallots.
But deeply hungry diners will want to
pick the steak offering, which is often a
mammoth, 20-plus-ounce New York steak
crowned with melted butter or sometimes
a filling Wellington. However, the $59
tab for a steak preparation might reduce
ASA is decidedly not a bargain restaurant
but as attested by the consistent crowds,
few guests seem to care—about the sizeable
prices or the decibel level as sounds bounce
off all the hard surfaces in this industrialchic
dining spot. The upscale cocktails,
satisfying cuisine, nurturing service and
overall energy apparent in this popular newcomer
seem destined to give ASA the same
longevity as its older brother in Saratoga.
Perhaps establishing an eventual family
dynasty was what Welch had in mind when
naming his new spot after his toddler son.
ASA, 242 State St., Los Altos; 650/935-2372;
HOURS: 5–10 p.m., Monday–Thursday; 4:30-11
p.m., Friday–Saturday. Reservations strongly
PRICES: Starters: $8–26; salads: $9–13; entrees:
173 Main Street, Los Altos, CA | 650.941.6043