Silicon Valley is home to many a workaholic, but we all need a vacation once in a while. Lazy Dog, a Cupertino restaurant inspired by ski lodges along the slopes of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, brings a dose of vacation to the bustling corporate area a few streets down from the Apple campus.

Meant to provide the warm and comfortable environment of a winter getaway, or perhaps a summer by the lake, the restaurant’s signature tower gives it a unique exterior. There is also an outdoor seating area to take advantage of the early spring weather. The wait on a Friday night was about 30 minutes, which is surprising for a chain restaurant in a mostly vacant strip mall still under development.

After being seated at a booth under the high wooden beam ceiling, service ran smoothly beginning with a strawberry citrus soda. It was a refreshing mix: large cuts of strawberry and lemon, with mint leaves and and a strawberry puree in a pipette.

From the extensive menu, we ordered wok-fried breaded calamari strips ($11.25) in a sweet soy plum sauce, sautéed with bell peppers and served over brown rice. The portion size was that of an entrée and very filling. The calamari itself was on the chewy side, but the sauce was a nice complement.

Caramelized Brussels sprouts ($6.95) are always a must-have for me. At Lazy Dog, the roasted cruciferous veggies are tossed with lemon, garlic, butter, capers and topped with romano cheese, creating a well-balanced flavor profile. Though each sprout was large and the portion size was decent, they were slightly overcooked and lost some of their crunch. Saying that, I’d still order the dish again.

The Hawaiian sticky ribs ($17.75) don’t appear any stickier than other baby back ribs and are tossed in a tangy sweet house made Hawaiian BBQ sauce. The tender ribs, which fall off the bone nicely, come with a mound of French fries drizzled with an orange umami sauce, sprinkled with sesame seeds, and an Asian slaw on the side. I felt indifferent toward the umami sauce and slaw, but I thoroughly enjoyed the ribs in the BBQ sauce.

Lastly, our Asian ahi tuna burger ($12.95) came out with a generous portion of medium-rare seared Ahi Tuna. The hunk of fish was layered with the same Asian slaw and wasabi dressing on a brioche-style bun. The combination of flavors was quite nice and the portion size was very filling. On the side was a cold pickled cucumber salad that also paired well with the flavors of the dish.

While the food here may not be life-altering, Lazy Dog is a fun place for families and large groups. In the same manner as other popular chains, like BJ’s or Yard House, it offers a variety of food in larger portions and a diverse drink menu with beers on tap. The atmosphere is loud and the décor is vibrant, which makes sense for families with young children—toddler tantrums go easily unnoticed, even if they all threw a fit at the same time.

Our server was very professional in her hand-off to another waitress at the end of her shift, causing no hiccups in our experience. Lazy Dog will provide a nice, casual fit for the run-run-run culture of the Valley.

Lazy Dog
19359 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino