Yesterday, On our way back from watching coastal birds glide on the flyway of the bayside (Santa Clara) county park as we listened to the sighing, swaying reeds, Dr. Ginny suggested we stop for an early Sat. eve dinner at retro-trendy Vahl's restaurant in the small, below sea-level, bayside village of Alviso http://www.alviso.com/ Once I said that my (68th) birthday was within days, Fremont pianist Anita Loos (her stagename), San Jose percussionist Joe de la Torre, & Santa Clara guitarist Bob Gibson sang; Anita customized "Bill Bailey" & then, at my request, Hank Williams' "Jambalaya"; Joe sang Joseph LaCalle's "Amapola" beautifully, saying he'd been practicing it that morning & now realized why. Backed by the trio (who perform on Fri & Sat. nites), regular patrons got up & sang other big-band numbers. (The trio also appears Weds & Thurs nites at Three Flames, 1547 Meridian, in San Jose.) Dr. Ginny & I had enormous chilled Shrimp Louis salads served in massive white ceramic seashells. It was our 2nd-time there, & there will be many more.
[anonymous San Jose Metroactive on-line review] Vahl's 1513 El Dorado, San Jose.Tagged onto the end of a quiet street in Alviso, homey Vahl's is a swellegant reminder of how our forebears used to live it up. The cocktail lounge & dining room are distinctly Midwestern: a little kooky, in the best sense of the word, but accommodating. It's the kind of place where the hostess will mention that she's been there for 56 years, & it's understood that that's a good thing. Allow plenty of time for dinner as it takes a while to get through the multiple courses. Make a go of it, though, or the motherly waitress might grouse that you didn't clean your plate before she brings dessert. Open 8am9pm.