.Exploring Braise Willow Glen

Downtown Willow Glen is a very distinct part of San Jose, with its small-town atmosphere, preserved buildings and eclectic mix of shops, boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Among these, behind a bright green door, is Braise Willow Glen—a restaurant and bar proudly embracing a farm-to-table philosophy.

This eatery effortlessly blends simplicity and elegance. With an understated aesthetic, the restaurant welcomes guests with an unassuming, homey vibe. It holds an intimate size, featuring around 25 dining tables and a nine-seat bar. There’s a small garden along the back wall that creates a harmonious and calming environment. This combination of simplicity, cleanliness with a subtle touch of green makes for an unpretentious yet refined dining experience.

The menu is split between drinks, snacks, small plates and mains. Marvyn, Braise’s friendly bartender, recommended one of the restaurant’s signature drinks—a gin-based cocktail named rite of spring. The blend of lychee, passion-peach tea, elderflower, chamomile, Cocchi liqueur and gin was refreshing.

As a fan of kimchi, I had to try AJ’s kimchi, a dish on the snacks section of the menu. This plate showcases the chef’s dedication to perfecting the Korean classic and maintains a dynamic and tangy, complex flavor. The fermentation is achieved by allowing the vegetables and seasonings to ferment over a period of time.

Next from the snacks were the cheddar beignets; small parcels with a crispy exterior giving way to a creamy and cheesy interior. These savory bites were light, fluffy and delicious French pastries.

More from the small plates section of the menu was the seared pork belly. Adorned with mint, dill, cilantro, jalapeno, radish and Nuoc Cham (a Vietnamese fish sauce), each came together in a rich flavor. The herbaceous notes of cilantro and mint gave way to the heat from the jalapenos and the rich crispiness of the skin.

Braise’s signature PB&J, which I’d heard so much about, was outstanding. Wait—why would an upscale restaurant feature a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Well, this isn’t just any old PB&J, it’s a dish that radiates decadence. It features bone marrow, house-made seasonal jam and nut butter. This rendition elevated the familiar sandwich to a new level of sophistication. The bone marrow added depth and elegance. It was a delightful twist on a classic, leaving a lingering taste of indulgence and gastronomic innovation.

On the main dish section of the menu, the New York steak is great—a succulent dish served with twice-baked potatoes. Based on the recommendations by a neighboring patron, the buttermilk fried chicken and the Braise burgers are also scrumptious.

It’s worth noting that if you are curious about exploring their hyper-seasonal menu, you should check out their happy hour from Wed. through Sat., 3pm until 5pm. Many of their signature dishes are offered at a discounted price during this time. 


Braise Willow Glen

1185 Lincoln Ave, San Jose

408-294-2919

open daily (closed Tuesdays)

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