RENT OUR RESTAURANT : Urbano California Bistro & Lounge (Downtown Modesto 1016 H. Street) has the capacity to host everything from small group meetings to very large corporate events with our signature service and exceptional attention to detail. We can customize your menu options or choose from our pre-planned event menus for a truly stress-free affair. With a large dining area, dance floor, full bar and resturant we can tailor floor space to your special event. Call 209-241-1625 for details and to book now.
By RICHARD PALOMA
With its floor to ceiling windows, polished concrete floors along with the dazzling flavors of Chef Noel Sanchez, Modesto’s Urbano California Bistro transports diners to an experience parallel to the City by the Bay — without the 90-mile drive. Opened two years ago, set on H Street behind the Gallo Center in Downtown Modesto, Urbano Bistro has continually added to its menu fare with a focus on a uniquely Californian fusion of eastern and western cuisine.
“We have a different combination of California and Mexican flavors, added with touches from Asia, France and Italy too,” said Chef Sanchez. “It’s all natural with no preservatives added in a ‘San Francisco style’ preparation.”
The ambiance, with its brick walls, high ceiling, chic bar, and mustard and sienna highlights provides a casual atmosphere with a Bay Area feeling of style, according to General Manager Noe Sanchez, the chef’s twin brother. The restaurant offers something unique, contemporary, and of course, flavorful.
Executive Chef Noel Sanchez has over 25 years preparing dishes in kitchens, mainly focused in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was the chef for the City’s Opa Café and also at Butterfly at Pier 33 in the Embarcadero District. He’s also worked at the Blue Footed Booby Canoe Club in Blackhawk and Piatti in Danville. Prior to Urbano, Sanchez and his brother owned Jacob’s Fine Dining in Modesto.
Appetizer and tapas items feature a Mediterranean bruschetta with toasted sliced bread topped with fresh diced tomatoes, Kalamata olives, capers, roasted garlic feta cheese, chili flakes, artichoke hearts, and tossed with balsamic oregano sauce.
“The Mediterranean bruschetta is popular with our vegetarian customers because it has many flavors,” Chef Sanchez said.
The mojito shrimp plate of seared tiger shrimp, Japanese chilies, roasted garlic and mushrooms tossed with white wine sauce is a self-created item by Chef Sanchez, popular with regulars.
“All the appetizers and tapas are big enough to be a meal in itself,” Chef Sanchez said. “If you try the tapas, it will lead you to wanting to try the main dishes.”
The chef also recommends his San Francisco Bay creation of green mussels, Manilla clams, roasted peppers, garlic, rosemary, and capers in a white wine sauce.
“It’s like a cioppino, but without the tomato sauce flavor,” Chef Sanchez said. “The capers add a citrus pop to it.”
Entrée items feature steak, seafood, and chicken breast selections along with their popular house-special “Gorgonzola Burger.”
“It’s big and juicy,” Noe Sanchez said. “The burger is stuffed with bacon, onions, mushrooms, and of course, gorgonzola cheese. The flavor from the gorgonzola is tremendous.” The Urbano Mojito New York Steak and Spicy Jalapeño Rib Eye Steak are favorites of regulars as well. The mojito New York steak at $25 is prepared similar to the mojito shrimp tapas, with seared tiger shrimp, Japanese chilies, roasted garlic and mushrooms tossed with white wine sauce. The grilled rib eye steak priced at $24 is topped with sautéed onions, fresh jalapeños chilies and mushrooms tossed with lemon soy sauce, served with garlic mashed potato and sautéed vegetables.
Urbano California Bistro has a full bar along with nightly entertainment on the weekends. Noe Sanchez said the first Saturdays of the month feature Latin music and second Saturdays feature house music of a DJ, hip-hop, or “underground.” Third Fridays is comedy night. With its locale so close to the Gallo Center, Urbano California Bistro provides 20 percent off to event goers prior to performances. “We can get you out and to the Center on time for the show,” Noe Sanchez said. “Just let us know.”