Saturday, June 14, 2008
It has been a couple of years since I went to this particular restaurant. The food is very good. It's an old style continental place. Dim, leather banquettes, table side cooking, "old fashion" dishes, like Duck a'la orange, frogs legs, veal oscar, steak diane
This is not the cheapest place to eat but the quality is worth it. The restaurant was full so I'm not sure about the "economy". You could not tell we are in a recessionary period.
There were six of us dining this evening. Everyone brought a really nice bottle of wine and we gladly paid the $15 per bottle corkage.
They always start you off the a tray of "goodies". Tonight it was their pate which they make themselves, olives, pickled vegetables and a cottage cheese dish that had chives in it, along with baskets of several types of bread and crackers.
Four of us ordered the spinach salad which is cooked table side, flames and all. They do make one of the better spinach salads around. Just the right amount of dressing and bacon. The other two ordered the french onion soup which they said was very good. I have had that soup years before and it was good then.
Four of us ordered the rack of lamb. Margie had the fresh halibut (she doesn't eat seafood but this is an exception) and Steve had the veal chop cordon blue. Everyone agreed the food was excellent. You do not get a choice of sides. Every dish comes with the same, fresh green beans, caramelized carrots, fried zucchini and roasted tiny potatoes. I would suppose this is due to the amount of table side cooking and cutting of meat that is done. It makes the waiters job a little bit easier and less complicated.
We ended up with bananas foster and cherries jubilee for dessert.
The wines that were brought were all excellent. We started off with a 1998 Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne, France, then progressed to a 2005 Kistler, Kistler Vineyard, Chardonnay, Sonoma. This had way to much oak in for my tastes but everyone else loved it.
There were 5 red wines on the table. 1996 Qunitessa Mertiage, Napa, 2001 Grgich Hills, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, 2003 Sea Smoke , Southing, Pinot Noir, Sta, Rita Hills, 2003 Pira, Barolo, Vigna Marcenca, Italy and a 2004 Pahlmeyer Meritage, Napa.
The Qunitessa was a stunning wine, the Barolo opened up after about an hour of decanting. All the wines were very good and there wasn't too much left to bring home.
It is nice to get dressed up and "do" fine dining. Makes you feel a bit more civilized. Although it always boggles my mind that when people go into a fine dining establishment they do not dress for the occasion. Shorts and jeans were seen tonight. I know its "California" and we are a laid back state but this wasn't the local pizza joint. I guess I'm showing my age or perhaps a little sense of snobbery and I hope I don't loose it.
We had a very enjoyable evening and I hope I don't put too much time between visits to The Riviera. http://www.rivierarestaurant.net/
I brought half of my dinner home as the amount of food on the plate was very generous and finished it for breakfast. Yeh ! I know I'm wierd but what rule says you have to eat breakfast foods only at breakfast. I eat leftovers for breakfast all the time.