I had never heard of the dish cioppino until I was invited to a family friend’s holiday party in December. It is a stew made with an array of seafood and a tomato-based sauce, and it is delicious. So on Saturday, I was pleased to see my new favorite seafood dish on the menu at Tarragon, which prides itself on serving farm-to-table food made from the freshest, seasonal ingredients from local farms and suppliers.
Dish of Choice
Of course, I chose the cioppino, which was made with mussels, clams, shrimp, whitefish and potatoes in a spicy tomato-saffron sauce, served with garlic bread. I also ordered a glass of chardonnay and split a plate of fried calamari with my parents. In total, my cioppino and glass of wine cost about $25.
The seafood in the cioppino was succulent, and the sauce was rich, savory and spicy, but not burn-your-mouth spicy. The fresh tomatoes and herbs stood out strongly. The flavor was not lacking at all. I liked the tender potatoes, but I don’t think they were needed. I think the seafood and the sauce were enough on their own to create a hearty stew. The garlic bread was warm and soft on the inside but had a good crunch and charring on the edges. This was a great dish.
The breading on the calamari was light, crispy and seasoned just right, and the meat was tender. The chipotle aioli had a nice spice and a slight horseradish-like taste. It greatly complemented the calamari.
Tarragon has an upscale feel, but not in a pretentious way. The warm lighting created a welcoming atmosphere. You definitely want to dress up in a nice blouse or buttoned-down shirt, but you don’t have to wear a gown or suit to feel comfortable dining there.
Our service was great. Our waitress was very courteous and checked on us regularly to make sure we were satisfied with our meal. I look forward to coming back.
Tarragon is located at 140 S. Murphy Ave. in downtown Sunnyvale. Lunch hours are 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and dinner starts at 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The restaurant also offers a daily happy hour menu and early bird special. For more information, call (408) 737-8003 or visit dinetarragon.com.