gmhTODAY 22 gmhToday Oct Nov 2018 - Page 102

Dining Out with Friends Written By Larry J. Mickartz Appetizers W WH Crab Cakes Poki Salads Spicy Asian Mambo e chose Morgan Hill's newest restaurant, Willard Hicks, and a nice quiet Tuesday evening, to take our good friends and long-time Gilroy residents, Tom and Susan Valenta to dinner. Willard Hicks has a great cosmopolitan vibe, with an inviting front patio that just shouts cocktails with friends. Its interior is reminiscent of an upscale San Francisco restaurant with high ceilings, large windows and understated modern furnishings. Willard Hicks is the first of four food venues that will occupy the south-east corner of Third and Monterey Road. Coming soon to this location are Opa!, Authentic Greek Cuisine; Tac-Oh!, Mexican Comfort Food; and Mo’s, a Breakfast + Burger Joint. A quick look at each restaurant's website will give you a feel for just how impressive this line up is. Once seated, in a cozy booth by the window positioned just behind the check-in desk, we ordered drinks. Susan ordered one of the Craft Libations on the menu, a Market Delight (Casamigos Blanco, Aperol, fresh lime juice, strawberries, orange bitters) Tom, a Ginger Beer; J.Chris, a glass of Champagne; and I ordered my usual, a tall Gin and Tonic. Our drinks arrived quickly and tasted great. Susan described hers as “refreshing, with a nice fru ity taste.” We all marveled at the huge ice cube in her drink, that by itself filled the glass and managed to survive from her first sip to the end. Tom’s Ginger Beer had a refreshing ginger twist with a bit of a kick at the end. As we finished our cocktails, we took a quick look at the WH (Willard Hicks) menu and knew we were in for a treat. In addition to some of the items that were familiar, they had a number of proprietary items designated with their WH signature that included an array of unusually paired ingredients. For appetizers, we agreed to share the WH Crab Cakes (fresh lump crab, fire roasted sweet peppers, cilantro, chives on a bed of baby arugula, drizzled with poblano aioli) and Poke (tuna, wasabi, ginger, green onion, cilantro, avocado, mango, sweet peppers, sriracha vinaigrette). Then I remembered people raving about the WH Iron Skillet Poblano Cornbread (roasted poblano peppers, sweet creamed corn come together to make our killer cornbread, drizzled with a jalapeño honey butter. Yum). So, we ordered a serving of that as well. The first thing we all noticed as our order was delivered to the table, Entrees WH Sticky Chicken Southern Wedge 102 Grilled Swordfi sh GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018