Sunday, August 3, 2008

Nice to Meet You, Charlie Palmer

On Saturday I went to South Coast plaza in Costa Mesa, killing two birds with one stone: 1)visiting Kat in OC who's been complaining that I don't visit :P and 2) trying out the 4 courses for $40 deals at the Charlie Palmer's at Bloomingdale's. This post is kindof late for those who want to try out the deal, since tonight is the last night ... but I thought it was still a good intro to Charlie Palmer's.

They had an eye-shaped window that looks into the kitchen. It was pretty cool to see them at work, and one guy even posed for a picture!
We were seated in the room next to their wine collection, and it was a darker room than the main dining room with brown leather chairs instead of white. I personally liked the brighter room, but it's no big deal ...

Besides the waiter/waitress, one of the sommeliers came by and introduced himself, which I thought was nice (we haven't ordered wine or anything).

So the 4 for $40 meal started with: Tasmanian salmon tartare with passion fruit-lavender, watermelon radish
I really liked the passionfruit-based sauce, both the sweetness and sourness worked well with the salmon and it was also interesting, and the masago on top gave the whole thing a nice kick.

Next is the Roasted Corn Soup with Chanterelle mushroom Ravioli:I think this was my favorite of the night. And I'm not just saying that because I'm in love with corn (or am I?). The soup was flavorful, but not too salty like I was afraid of, and the combination with the chanterelle mushroom ravioli worked very well.

Kat's friend also ordered the Kobe beef burger sliders from the lounge menu. There were 3 mini burgers so she gave each of us one (thanks!)

The burger was pretty standard - the meat was very very juicy, which I liked, but at the same time was a bit 'rough'.

For the entree I got: Pan roasted sea scallops, with sunchokes, sugar snap peas, herb jus
The scallops were pretty big, tender and juicy. The sauce I thought was just okay though, and if it wasn't for the interesting vegetables it would've been a rather boring dish.

Kat's friend ordered the Prosciutto crusted pork tenderloin with salsify, black mission figs
I tried a bite of the tenderloin, and it was pretty good. It was not overcooked so the meat is tender and juicy. I actually liked this better than my scallops ..

The chocolate molten cake for the dessert was not bad. It was not anything special either. Without the ice cream it's a little too rich and sweet. But then again, a rich chocolate molten cake is good.

Instead of petit fours, they gave us 'beignets'. They were tasty, but I think they're more like donut holes. Good donut holes.

All in all I'd say the 4 for $40 was a good deal. As for the restaurant itself, it has solid food, ambiance, and service. It's pretty 'standard' high-end restaurant with all the right components, good for business meetings, taking guests, etc, but not one I would make as a "destination."

Charlie Palmer's at Bloomingdale's
3333 S Bristol St
Costa Mesa,, CA 92626
Phone: (714) 352-2525

Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale's South Coast Plaza on Urbanspoon

Charlie Palmer in Los Angeles



I went to CP not too long ago and was sorely disappointed with the food.

From the photos, it looks like perhaps they've cleaned up their act a bit though. The dishes don't look nearly as contrived or overdone. May be worth another try...

Shelly Borrell

Great pictures. I've liked much of what I've had at Charlie Palmers and wrote about it on my blog too. Thanks!

Frequent Traveler

It got savaged by a lot of the critics, but I really liked it when I went with my Mom last month.

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