It’s hard to believe that Blind Tasting is not even one year old in San Carlos — they celebrate the first anniversary of their opening at 749 Laurel Street on February 7th. It’s so popular that one would think it’s a long-time San Carlos institution. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, so frankly it’s a little difficult to just walk in on a Friday or Saturday evening. We have tended to strategically plan our visits for other nights. Depending on the weather, you will also see the diners spill out on the small front patio surrounded by heaters.
Because of its relatively small size (a decent sized bar takes up a good chunk of the interior real estate) and consistent crowds, it can get a little noisy in there. They don’t have a lot of big tables, but it’s definitely become a place to hang out with a small group of friends. We almost always see people we know there. The service is top notch, they have an ample selection of wine (which lines the walls) and consistently excellent food. The restaurant menu is in the spirit of a growing trend in San Carlos — that of wine bars and gastropubs serving mostly small plates and sharable dishes (many of which are served on redwood burl slabs). Although you can certainly order your own individual dish, we recommend that you do get a number of items to share.
We can’t have a review of Blind Tasting without mentioning one of our favorite dishes in San Carlos — their Ahi Tuna Poke Sliders. What could be better than two little buns with Ahi Poke topped with an onion ring? They have a number of small plates to share, including Hawaiian seafood ceviche (served in a coconut), hummus, crab and artichoke dip, spring rolls, octopus, and a few other solid selections.
They also have a few burger options, including beef sliders and a lamb burger served on top of a pita. They have a small selection of salads – we are partial to the baby arugula and mizuna salad.
Another highlight of their menu (and also part of a growing trend in San Carlos) is their extensive cheese and charcuterie plates as well as their flatbreads, all of which are very high quality and of course perfect dishes to share. There is also a selection of oysters, other appetizers, and side dishes (we’re repeat customers of their brussel sprouts).
As mentioned, they have an extensive wine list, but also offer a number of interesting beers on tap (Maui Coconut Porter, anyone?). Any good wine bar would of course have all kinds of wine and beer flights, including its namesake “blind tasting” where you can attempt to guess the wines poured for you.
The owners are super friendly and will often greet you with a handshake (or even a hug) upon your arrival. It’s definitely not a place for a cheap night out on the town, but if you want consistently great food, a solid selection of wine and beer, and a fun atmosphere to connect with friends, Blind Tasting is a sure bet. It’s a place we predict will remain a mainstay of the San Carlos scene for many years.