There isn’t a whole lot east of Highway 17, away from downtown Los Gatos where the restaurants command long wait times. Yet here we found a little gem the neighbors are already familiar with: Grill 57 Bar and Restaurant.

Situated next to Los Gatos Inn, whose owners also run the restaurant, Grill 57 requires the same 30ish-minute wait for dinner as its counterparts on Santa Cruz Avenue. But this is a good sign for the four-month-old eatery.

Luckily, there were two open chairs at the bar on a Saturday night, so we were seated immediately. It took a while for the food to come out, but the wait staff was apologetic and helpful when they arrived with our dishes all at once. There was the to-die-for plate of soft, chewy Summer Gnocchi ($15) with crunchy toybox squash. Accompanied by grape tomatoes and corn in a white wine sauce, the dish was perfect for the season.

Sometimes when a dish like Jambalaya ($24) is plated fancifully, as it was here on white dinnerware, I expect something needlessly complicated for comfort food. Not so with Grill 57’s jambalaya. Thanks to the quality of fresh seafood, large shrimp, tender mussels and a tasty Creole seasoning, the dish was very good.

The entrée portions are on the lighter side but still decent. To supplement, we ordered an appetizer and a side dish. I can never pass up roasted Brussel sprouts ($6), especially when they’re cooked with thick-cut bacon. It was a great side for the gnocchi dish. The appetizer of beer-battered rock shrimp ($9) was served with chips, pico de gallo and a dollop of avocado puree in what seemed to be a deconstructed tostada. The deep-fried shrimp was crispy but too salty, so this dish was OK overall.

For desserts, the menu is quite standard, though there is a donut shortcake. We chose the crème brûlée, which was sweet and smooth.

While dining, we noted the cooks working in the kitchen through a doorway behind the bar. The entrance seemed unintentionally open, as if there was no good way to fit a door there without obstructing the bar. In general, the layout of the restaurant is odd, something like a converted real estate office in a “V” shape. The hostess table at the front could easily have been a receptionist desk in a former life, and the large leather chairs are very comfortable for the caboose but make the space look crowded. But this building’s past doesn’t matter because, at present, it functions just fine as a restaurant—one with top-notch food and intriguing cocktails.

Grill 57 Bar and Restaurant 
57 Los Gatos-Saratoga Road, Los Gatos.