My friend Jason is coming for a visit next month, and I have been looking for a nice-but-reasonably-priced contemporary restaurant to take him to on his first night here. I have heard good things about the Elephant Bar in Cupertino, which specializes in Asian-inspired fusion entrees and has an impressive happy hour menu.
Dish of Choice
The happy hour menu offers a number of discounted appetizers and drinks from 3 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 p.m. to close everyday. I chose two appetizers: the quick-fried soy-ginger calamari, which was served on a bed of marinated vegetables, crisp rice noodles and toasted sesame seeds; and the Korean beef tacos, which was served with marinated beef sirloin on corn tortillas, topped with a blend of cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, cilantro, avocado and sour cream. The three tacos also came with a side of slaw and spicy salsa.
I also ordered the Snap Dragon Martini, which was made with Dragon Fruit Skyy Vodka, passion fruit puree, cranberry juice and cayenne pepper. Since it was happy hour and Skinny Cocktail Tuesday, I received $3 off each appetizer and half off my martini. The bill was about $18.
The calamari was thick, tender, and lightly breaded with just enough seasoning. I also enjoyed the crisp noodles and marinated vegetables, which were a nice complement to the dish. The beef on the tacos was also tender, and I also enjoyed the slaw and the blend of vegetables and herbs on the tacos. The spicy salsa on the side added a nice kick without setting my tongue on fire.
The drink was strong, but not over-the-top strong, so I could still enjoy the passion fruit and cranberry flavors. The puree tasted fresh and the cayenne pepper was subtle. I would order this cocktail again.
Elephant Bar has an upscale, modern style without feeling stuffy. The restaurant was dimly lit, creating an intimate feel. Although they had a steady happy hour and dinner crowd, it wasn’t too loud, so you can hear and enjoy the conversation with the person across the table from you. It seems like a good place for a date night or a laid-back night out with friends.
Elephant Bar is located at 19780 Stevens Creek Boulevard in Cupertino and has 11 other locations throughout the Bay area and Northern California. Hours at the Cupertino location are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call (408) 865-0701 or visit www.elephantbar.com.