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Parties: A Starry Night

Written by Catherine Bigelow | Photography by Drew Altizer

When swanky Peninsula steakhouse Selby’s opened in July 2019, culinary expectations were high. Taking up residence in Chantilly’s former location, this tricked-out 10,000-squarefoot dining den was an instant hit among tech titans and blue-blooded Atherton denizens, further cementing this stretch of El Camino as a fine dining destination. The restaurant’s abbreviated prepandemic run was so impressive, it was recognized in September 2021 with its inaugural Michelin star.

On September 23, restaurateur Tim Stannard, founding partner and president of Bacchus Management Group, welcomed back loyal clientele, including Ayesha Curry; Komal Shah; Lisa Goldman and son, Matthew; Silicon Valley legal eagle Larry Sonsini; Nancy Evars; Lisa and Todd Zabelle; and PR pro Allison Speer. The intimate reopening fete starred Champagne and the full signature caviar service — served on Ginori china — amid Selby’s old-school glamour.

“Selby’s was shut down longer than it was open. But the Atherton community was quick to welcome us,” explains Stannard. “We always open a new space with a specific idea. But we listen carefully to our guests, then tweak accordingly to create a bespoke dining experience that feels more like a clubhouse.”

That luxurious “club” feel is a signature of the Bacchus family of restaurants — including The Village Pub in Woodside and Spruce in San Francisco’s Presidio Heights ’hood, each also one-star Michelin-rated restaurants.

“I’m in awe of what three-Michelin-star chefs can produce. But that’s not the Bacchus’ aspiration,” continues Stannard. “With one star, we can be more playful in our presentation and menus.”

Stannard admits the original Selby’s concept was, perhaps, too serious — originally boasting a tableside beef Wellington carving station and a wheeled cart of made-to-order martinis.

“We want Selby’s to be the everyday, neighborhood go-to, whether guests celebrate a successful IPO at the bar or experience an elevated date-night dinner,” says Stannard. “We’ve also introduced a price-friendly $65 three-course meal and comfort food offerings such as lobster pot pie, chicken parmigiana and a great burger.”

But for serious ballers like Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob, Selby’s Black Label Burger, imagined by founding chef Mark Sullivan, is also available in one of the restaurant’s three private rooms — or its coveted balcony scene — topped by five ounces of shaved truffles.

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