1600 S Disneyland Dr
Anaheim, CA 92802
Looking for a place to eat on the 4th of July can be a challenge especially when you start looking at 6PM. Fortunately I was able to get a walk-in at Napa Rose for 9PM.
Having had the Vintner's Table menu before we wanted to see if we could do something a little different. We decided to put our trust in the chef and have him create a true tasting menu for us.
Amuse: Watermelon - with Feta Cheese, Balsamic Vinegar and Mint
A very appropriate summer amuse, similar to one I had recently at Lola. The juicy sweetness of the watermelon is heightened by the balsamic and mint. The cheese had a mild tanginess that went very well with the melon.
I suppose we could have asked for the staff to make a wine pairing on the fly but we decided to just go with a bottle of red and a bottle of white. Last time my friend and I came here we walked out with a bottle of 1999 DRC Burgundy. We struck up a conversation about wines with our waiter and he mentioned he might have another 99 for $4800. Sadly it wasn't at the on-site cellar, but he promised to check the off-site and bring it over for our next visit.
Last time I was here I ordered a cucumber martini and it was excellent. I considered getting that again, but I decided to try a cucumber gimlet instead. The gimlet tasted like a milder version of the martini, with the lemon adding a slight twist.
My companion decided to forgo his customary Mojito and go with a Tom Collins. I thought this was a drier example of the drink, but still very cool and refreshing
2005 Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett, Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer
Since we decided to have the chef make up the menu as he went, we decided not to do wine pairings and instead get a bottle of white and a bottle of red. I was in the mood for a Riesling and the off-dry Bergweiler was just what I needed, lots of apple and minerality on the nose, medium acidity with some sugar, peach and stone on the palate.
2001 Lewis Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa Valley
A very well balanced wine with nice texture and complexity. Black cherry in the nose with some earthiness. On the palate flavors of cherry and cassis give way to lingering mint on the finish. I enjoyed the wine, but I thought it a bit restrained and would have liked a bit more expressiveness.
Bread - Ciabatta, French, Crispy Flatbread, and Olive
The same 4 bread offerings that are always available. As always the crispy flatbread was my favorite.
01: Heirloom Tomato and Crab Gazpacho - with Corn and Cucumber Relish
The special soup of the night was a delicious gazpacho with crab. The gazpacho was nicely chilled and bracing with a hint of heat. The corn and crab complimented the soup, balancing the peppery bite of the soup.
02: Kona "Kampachi" Carpaccio & Ahi Tartare - with California Avocado Mousseline and Ruby Red Grapefruit Vinaigrette
I wasn't impressed with this dish the first time I came here with my MBA group, I thought the fish was overpowered by the accompanying ingredients. I am happy to say this time things were much better, the citrus was more balanced and there wasn't as much oil on the ahi tartare. A couple bites were a touch salty but still tasty.
03: Fried Squash Blossom Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Pesto - with an English Pea Coulis
The squash blossom had a clean fried taste to it and went very well with the creamy sweetness of the English pea coulis. Overall, I quite enjoyed the interplay of texture and flavor in this dish. Lately I am definitely appreciating the things talented chefs can do with vegetables a lot more than I used to.
04: Brentwood Farms Corn & Buttered Leek Lasagna topped with Duck Confit - with a Sauce of Applewood Smoked Bacon and Sonoma Mushrooms
The corn and leek lasagna was surprisingly good, fairly simple and pleasing to eat. The dish became much more complex with the addition of smoky bacon and earthy mushrooms.
05: Our Signature Grilled Rabbit Bratwurst - Braised Beluga Lentils, Caramelized Fennel and Sautéed Beet Tops
The standout part of this dish was definitely the bratwurst itself with its rich flavor. The sides were a bit bland although I did enjoy the texture of the lentils. Both times I had this dish the sides were very mild in flavor maybe this is done intentionally to let the bratwurst take center stage.
06: Wine Country Mushroom Risotto - Sonoma Mushrooms, Imported Parmigiano-Reggiano and Truffle Butter
I thought the risotto was a bit better this time around. The sauce was a touch salty but the texture was much better. I would have liked a slightly stronger truffle flavor though.
07a: Angus Filet Mignon "au Poivre" topped with Melted Brie - Roasted Walnuts, Sun-Dried Cherries and Cabernet Sauvignon-Cherry Essence
I would have been happy eating this steak just by itself. The meat was faultless, tender with no tendon or gristle, truly a joy to sink your teeth into. The flavor was just as strong, minimal fat but a clean hearty beefiness. I didn't eat much of the sides or the sauce as they detracted from the purity of the meat.
07b: Lemon & Rosemary Grilled Colorado Lamb Chops - Marble Potatoes, Asparagus, Cipollini Onions and Summer Basil Pesto
One of the most impressive courses of the night. The lamb was phenominal, tender and flavorful, a good balance of fat and lean meat. The flavor was characteristic of lamb, but with minimal gaminess.
08a: Warm Chocolate Cake - with Ice Cream and a Tuile
For some reason the descriptions of the desserts totally elude me, so I am going based on the picture. This was a fairly typical warm chocolate cake with ice cream and a tuile. Nice but nothing particularly memorable.
08b: Peach Parfait - with Lime Granita
The other dessert was a bit more memorable but I am still going off the picture because I don't remember the description. The peach parfait was delicateand light, very mild in taste. The flavor came mostly from the rest of the dish. The granita on top was citrus based, I think lime, very tart and the perfect foil to the buttery rich cream. The sliced kumquats had a similar flavor but so intense that it overpowered the other flavors of the dish. Overall, good balance except for the kumquats.
This marks my 3rd review of Napa Rose and my 4th visit, making this the most reviewed restaurant on my blog. My last three visits have all been fairly strong. The one consistent complaint throughout the last few visits is their dark sauces tend to be a bit overpowering. Overall, I'd still classify Napa Rose as one of the best fine dining experiences in Orange County.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
1600 S Disneyland Dr