Opened in early December 2009, Laurus is a new sophisticated restaurant located in the upscale Blackhawk Plaza, which derives its name sake from the bay laurel tree, native to the Mediterranean region of the world. Chef Matthew Silverman draws his inspiration for the menu from both southern European and California influences and a passion for interesting ingredients.
The ambiance is elegant yet evokes a warm, rich impression immediately when you open the front door. The atmosphere is luxuriant, warm, and spacious with a soft color palate, stone accents and memorable signature furniture pieces. Laurus has an old world impression in a new world space. Both the exhibition kitchen and bar have a curved counter with stools for intrigued customers to watch the food and beverage culinary creations unfold. While at the bar, check out the unique water dispenser that is artistically enchanting and interesting – a must see.
My friend Helen and I arrived at noon with a reservation, but did not need one. We were quickly seated by the window in the main dining room with a terrific view of the water and birds outside. A metal basket of house baked focaccia arrived with a molded dish of butter with two small wells that held flavored olive oils – quite a distinctive presentation. I ordered a glass of Andre Vatan “Les Charmes” Sancerre 2008 and Helen ordered a Pimms Cup cocktail. The added touch of serving the wine with a small, individual sized decanter was extraordinary.
We decided to start with the truffle cauliflower bisque with sweet corn pancetta relish, basil oil and micro chives. For lunch Laurus offers two sizes for quite a few of the menu items. The bisque was “to die for” - creamy, crunchy, earthy and just magnificent. Our palates were dancing and could hardly wait for our next selection, the caramelized onion with gorgonzola, basil pesto, spiced walnuts, salumi tuscano and opal basil wood-fired flatbread. We shared the half order and were not disappointed. The flatbread had a crispy crust married with the flavorful combination of sweet onion, pesto, thin slices of sulami and a hint of earthy walnut.
Our last selection was the waiter’s recommendation, the turkey burger with portabella mushrooms, avocado, emmentalier swiss and nueske bacon served with sweet potato fries dusted with cumin and salt. Unfortunately the turkey burger was dry and the portabella puree he described did not exist. On a good note, the fries were crispy, flavorful and divine. Our waiter came over and offered a choice – “dessert menu” or “the check”. We found this a bit out of sequence, since typically there is time lapse between offering dessert and delivering the check. Dessert was calling out to us, so we chose the trio of gelatos which included mango, Stracciatella (vanilla chocolate chip) and their signature flavor, laurel leaf and lavender. The signature flavor had an herbaceous quality along with being sweet and creamy. This would not please every palate but definitely worth trying.
Overall Laurus is a stylish, sophisticated dining destination. Intriguing wine list along with an interesting menu, Laurus should attract foodies and adventurous diners alike. Our service was good along with the majority of the meal. We especially enjoyed the ambiance and architecture of the space, the soup was amazing and the laurel & lavender gelato was a foodies dream.
3483 Blackhawk Plaza Circle
Danville, CA 94596
NOTE: Laurus is now closed.