When three Michelin-starred Manresa chef/owner David Kinch and partner Andrew Burnham opened The Bywater in January in the laid-back and chic Silicon Valley town of Los Gatos, the lines started forming immediately. It’s a casual ode to New Orleans, festive with Mardi Gras beads, black-and-white photographs of musicians and a Zydeco and Nola jazz soundtrack. The vibrant drink program by Chad Arnholt and Claire Sprouse (of Tin Roof Drinking Community) plays with Nola classics, including the likes of clarified Ramos Gin Fizzes, nitro Pimm’s Cups and perfect absinthe frappés.
THE DRINK TO DRINK: The Bywater Gibson, with pickled okra garnish and a touch of fino sherry added to dry vermouth and gin, threatens to steal the show. But there’s plenty to love on the drink menu, including the Huck-a-Buck, a popular Louisiana frozen dessert, here an icy watermelon, lemon, sea salt and dry Madeira drink with your choice of vodka or tequila as the base.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: No surprise: The food is excellent and honors New Orleans’ one-of-a-kind food culture with exceptional Northern California ingredients, from cornmeal-fried oyster po’ boys to lush red beans and rice with andouille sausage.