It just opened, as the focal dining point, at Rosewood Sand Hill -- the luxurious Rosewood Hotel and Resorts' latest installment of ultimate R&R.
Madera, and the 120-room resort, are tucked into the rolling hills just off of 280, in Menlo Park.
The Santa Cruz mountains provide a fabulous backdrop to the west, setting the scene for the entire place.
The restaurant's designers decided to frame nature's mural with what feels like a skyscraper-tall, cedar-beamed A-line ceiling and mammoth windows.
The view sets off a very cool, rustic vibe that begs for a glass of red, a seat in front of one of the many on-site fireplaces, and a taste from Rudolf's ode-to-the-Bay menu.
Chef Rudolf is well known for his work at Campton Place and his title from starchef.com.
He grew up here in the Bay Area, eating locally-grown foods.
Rudolf recalls eating artichokes and meyer lemons as a kid ... memories most of us natives can relate to. Except this kid grew into an executive chef and he's very serious about sticking to his roots.
Gotta love (or at least appreciate) that kind of pride.
Madera's menu comes straight from the farmer's markets of San Francisco, Menlo Park and others close by.
Most of the veggies are pulled from the rich soils of Half Moon Bay, Watsonville and the Central Valley, while a lot of the protein is brought down from farther north.
The cooking is performed in an open kitchen, so entertainment is included.
Homemade sausage-making, a wood-burning grill, mouth-watering sauces bubbling in saute pans, the creative plating ... it's all right there for the curious eye to see.
"With Iron Chef and Hell's Kitchen shows so popular right now, people are really into the experience of food preparation," Rudolf explained while he pointed out the extra low marble countertops that allow for unobstructed kitchen views from some of the seating areas.
Right around happy hour locals begin to flock to Madera's wrap-around terrace that's stocked with inviting outdoor furniture and a wait staff.
The extensive wine list, which showcases a lot of local love, and the baked Petrale sole layered with pine nuts, peas, and braised Romaine lettuce are what's turning heads and tantalizing taste buds in the dining room.
"I fell in love with the peninsula and its people because they have the same views on food and same passion for wines as I do ... a lot of very well-educated palettes around here," Rudolf noted.
The idea of being able to hop in the car and take in some moutain air, a spa treatment or two, a cocktail at the lounge and an exquisite lunch all in one afternoon is more than tempting.
Rudolf really drove it home when he said, "You know, you're only 25 miles away from the city, but when you're here, you're a world away. It's 55 degrees in San Francisco right now and 73 here. In less than a half an hour anyone can be out of the office and having a drink on the terrace or laying by the pool."
Madera at Rosewood Sand Hill is located at 2825 Sand Hill Road.
Rooms are decorated with modern, local artistry and they're abnormally spacious ... the smallest room is 500 square feet, the largest is well over 2,000.
If you're interested in a staycation, the resort is currently promoting a debut offer that gives you 50 bucks to spend at Madera, with proceeds benefitting Bay Area charities. Check it out.