Sunday, July 26, 2009

ParkAve - 06/27/2009

11200 Beach Blvd
Stanton, CA 90680

After a 70-hour work week followed by 10 hours of class on Saturday I needed something good to end the week. However a long drive sounded terribly unappealing. Kevin found an adequate solution, a new restaurant in Stanton that was getting notice for its new-American fare. Even among the meager pickings in Orange County, Stanton's restaurant selection leaves much to be desired. Would this be the meal that finally offered a legitimate ray of hope to the city's diners?

Ginger Grant - Gin, Fresh Ginger Syrup, Lime and Dash of Bitters
I was expecting something much softer but the initial taste was almost straight gin, and a more apparent ginger flavor would have been very welcome.

Tommy Bahama Mojito - Muddled with Garden Grown Mint
The mojito was the exact opposite, with an abundant sweetness but nary a hint of alcohol.

01: Lobster Mac N Cheese - with a Spicy Cheese Sauce
This turned out to be the best course of the night, possessing a spicy pop on the attack with the lobster adding an undertone of sweetness to the sharp creaminess of the cheese. This dish demonstrates masterful use of the lobster as an accompaniment. The sweetness of the shellfish adds an element of complexity that reinforces the simple enjoyment of the mac n cheese.

02: Lobster and Roasted Corn Fritters - Red Pepper Mayonnaise
Unlike the last dish, the lobster plays a bigger role, to disastrous effect. The lobster, or lack thereof is immediately apparent against the abundance of filler. The bits of sweet corn, tangy mayo, and spicy Siracha sauce help somewhat but it didn't quite make up for eating a mouthful of cornmeal.

Champagne - HEIDSIECK Monopole Brut, Epernay
An earnest sparkler that combines mineral notes of graphite and flashes of lemon rind along with traditional aromas of yeasty bread.

03: Marinated Tenderloin Bites - with Soy, Lime and Garlic
A simple preparation of beef, that immediately conjured up images of Galbi, or Korean marinated short ribs. The bitterness of the slaw proved to be an effective contrast to the sweeter flavor of the meat.

04: Seafood Risotto - with Pea Pesto
The seafood risotto was the special of the night and I was very curious to see what seafood the kitchen would pair with the pea pesto. I expected some sort of shellfish, but the dish employed a heavy oily fish' reminiscent of mackerel that was far too heavy for the lighter sweetness of the pea. Both my companion and I agreed that an earthier compliment like mushroom would have been a more fitting accompaniment for the fish. Judging solely on the texture rice was no better with the quality being marginal at best.

05: Grilled Skirt Steak - Molasses, Soy and Ginger Marinade Cauliflower and Pesto Risotto
Skirt steak tends to be tougher cut but also imbued with robust beefy flavor that was sorely lacking with this particular preparation which instead exhibited a disturbing flavor better suited to an oily fish than beef. The risotto was somewhat better, offering a hearty stew-like flavor that would have been a good pairing had the steak been up to par.

2006 BIBICH Riserva, Skradin
For our second wine we went with a Croatian wine which was a first for both of us. The initial flavor of the wine was highly reminiscent of a pinot with a light flavor of sour cherry. As the bottle got some air, the flavor-profile shifted more toward Cabernet.

06: Texas Antelope Medallions - Pear Risotto, Red Wine Demi
The antelope was far superior with a syrupy sweetness that didn't feel out of place. The meat had a light gaminess somewhat reminiscent to lamb that enhanced an otherwise straightforward of charred meat.

07: Sage Ranch Honey Ice Cream
A dessert menu has to be pretty lackluster for me to resort to ordering the ice cream but this turned out to be a great choice. The initial flavor was a simple brown sugar sweetness that evolved into a pure concentrated honey on the finish.

08: Cream Cheese Ice Cream
The cream cheese was a light refreshing contrast to the honey ice cream; reminiscent of cheesecake filling with a light tang similar to those trendy new frozen yogurt stands.

09 Strawberry and Blueberry Sponge Cake - with Whipped Cream
A typical sponge cake that could have come out of the refrigerator case at any supermarket bakery.

Based on the clientele and decor, I was expecting something tired and old but the food exhibits some flashes of innovation and manages to pull them off nicely though aside from these rare moments the food was fairly pedestrian and there were actually quite a few misses. Ordering the right courses, one can actually get a surprisingly good meal but order poorly and this won't be the restaurant that puts Stanton on the culinary map.


Food, she thought. said...

A shame about the food, although that ice cream comment has me craving Yogurtland for breakfast. I love the building.

Tangbro1 said...

There were some flashes of hope, just a general lack of consistency.