It took a couple of beats, however the spot previously referred to as Hult’s after which Flights is now open as Hercules Draft Space and Cantina.
At first conceived as a beer-focused hangout, the industry type now features a Latin menu with the entirety from ceviche to posole to fish tacos, plus chile relleno and birria. The décor is simple, with wooden surfaces far and wide, together with a live-edge grand desk, located adjoining to what was Alex Hult’s wall of wine and is now a wall of tastefully positioned succulents.
Heading up Hercules is Chef Beltran Reyes, a type of in an instant endearing cooks whose sunny disposition and internal power have introduced him to the purpose of pleasurable a long-held dream to arrange gorgeous meals and sooner or later have his personal position.
“Once I got here right here in 2009 from Guatemala, I used to be 18,” Reyes says. “I were given a task as a dishwasher in Palo Alto. This was once no longer what I sought after to do without end! I used to be running two jobs and requested the landlord at one if I may paintings within the kitchen. He requested how previous I used to be and if I had revel in. I used to be 19. No kitchen revel in, however I wish to be told. I wish to do that!”
Considered one of seven kids, his father died younger, and Reyes went to paintings within the fields, rising watermelons, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage and corn. He beloved rising produce, however he imagined a greater existence. It took him nearly two months to achieve the U.S., most commonly on foot and by means of teach. His 3 brothers additionally emigrated, and all paintings within the Bay Space, whilst his 3 sisters and mom nonetheless reside in Guatemala.
The empanadas at the menu are an homage to his Central American roots, and so is the Parrilada, which options hangar steak, Mexican chorizo, carnitas, jumbo shrimp and grilled nopal. It’s necessarily a South of the Border celebration platter.
“The Mole de Rancho is my very own recipe—secret chiles and the entirety you get from the fields,” Reyes says. “The Mexican tale of mole is going again to a time when there was once little to devour, and other folks from other villages introduced what they’d—some chiles, some spices, various things—they usually cooked all of them in combination to make this implausible sauce.”
Reyes was once the hole chef at RELISH! in Gilroy, a 2nd outpost by means of proprietor Janice Albright of Large Basin Burger Bar, who additionally opened Carmel Burger Bar previous this yr. He has created some gorgeous fish dishes whilst at The Hands.
“I really like halibut. Give me the entire giant gorgeous fish,” he says, gesturing with fingers as broad as they may be able to stretch. “I will be able to make one thing of all of the factor.”
Even if halibut isn’t at the menu at Hercules, he does serve salmon adobado, seasoned with adobo and served with jasmine rice and mango-papaya salsa. Some other forte is Asado, a hangar steak with grilled nopal and onions and a secret sauce.
The home made corn tortillas, scrumptious and completely sized, make a significant taco, whether or not stuffed with shrimp, hen, steak or al pastor. When served as quesabirria, they’re full of mozzarella, onions, cilantro and divinely mushy pork that has been stewed to mushy perfection. They cook dinner up crispy and lightweight, so mouthwateringly just right that you simply don’t want the burria consommé. However, sure, you do.
To accompany all this goodness, there’s a huge cocktail menu that includes Espolon, Avion and Luna Azul tequila beverages like L. a. Laguna, with Espolon blanca, lime and blue Curacao. As a substitute of sitting in visitors on Freeway 17, L. a. Playa can conjure up photographs of solar and sand with a mix of Luna Azul bianco, Vida mescal, lime, agave, mandarin and tangerine.
Beer on draught contains Fieldwork, Naked Bottle, Discretion and Gilman, plus seasonal rotations.
Hercules Draft Space and Cantina, 165 Saratoga-Los Gatos Highway, Los Gatos. Hours are Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m. -9 p.m., Friday, 11 a.m. -10 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. -10 p.m., and Sunday, 9 a.m. -9 p.m. 408-402-3131(no website online but).