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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Winery - Tustin

The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar
The District at Tustin Legacy
2647 Park Avenue
Tustin, California 92782
(714) 258-7600

I recently visited the winery for dinner on a Wednesday evening, to celebrate an anniversary with V. This was my first visit to this restaurant. I was excited because I had always heard such good things about the restaurant.

We arrived for our reservation at 5:30 PM (Early, I know. It's what you have to do when you have a kid...) We were seated right away in a nice corner booth. We looked over the menu and saw a lot of items that sounded really yummy.

We decided to start our meal off with a bottle of wine and the cheese platter. The platter was $18 for five cheeses or $12 for three. We decided to get the platter of five cheeses. When the cheese platter arrived, the waiter pointed out the cheeses on the platter. I was a bit underwhelmed. The five cheeses were goat cheese, brie cheese, bleu cheese, manchego cheese and humboldt fog. The pieces were also teeny-tiny. Now I don't mind paying $18 for five pieces of teeny-tiny cheese, but if I'm going to do so, I expect something a little more interesting. These five cheeses seem like something you can grab at any corner grocery store for a few dollars. I have gotten much better cheese platters for far less at much more casual restaurants.

I decided to order the Duck Confit salad ($13.95) as an appetizer. The warm duck confit was served on a bed of baby spinach with anjou pears, thinly sliced red beets and candied walnuts (even though I told the waiter I was allergic to walnuts). I picked out the walnuts and tried the salad. It wasn't bad. The salad seemed to be a little overly-dressed with the cabernet vinaigrette dressing so it was very tangy. The duck was a little bland as well. The salad wasn't horrible, but I don't think I would order it again.

For my entree I decided to order the Braised Shortribs ($26.95) that I have heard many good things about. Again, the dish wasn't "bad" but I wasn't really impressed with it. The shortribs were a little dry and weren't full of flavor like you'd expect from a braised shortrib. You're much better off getting the shortribs from Roy's. The shortribs were served on a bed of corn infused cous cous with prosciutto wrapped asparagus. The cous cous didn't really taste like anything.

V ordered the Shrimp and Scallops for her meal ($29.95). She was served two scallops and three shrimp on top of a bed of risotto. She said that one of the scallops was over-cooked, extremely salty and really fishy tasting. The other scallop though was cooked almost perfectly. All three of the shrimp seemed to be overcooked and rubbery. She ate one shrimp, I tried a bite of another and we just left the remainder on the plate. The risotto seemed uninspired and the flavor of it just didn't seem to work for her.

For dessert we decided to end with the Chocolate Decadence ($11.95). The chocolate decadence was a small chocolate creme brulee, a chocolate ganache filled ice cream cone and a brownie. The creme brulee was about a 1/4-inch deep and pretty generic. I expected the ice cream cone with ganache to be nice and crunchy, but it was actually very soggy and the ganache inside seemed more like chocolate pudding. The brownie was just a brownie.

Overall, none of the food was really that "bad." None of it was especially good or memorable either. The service at the restaurant was pretty good, if not a little slow. We ended up spending about 3 hours at the restaurant. The food was also presented nicely. There wasn't anything necessarily wrong with the food, I just expected so much more from what is considered a "fine-dining" restaurant. The food here just seemed to be more of the quality of a casual dining restaurant and did not seem to be worth the high prices. I ended up spending about $150 on dinner for two here with a bottle of wine ($45), excluding tip. The dessert was also comped because it was our anniversary. If you're going to spend this much money on dinner, there are many places in Orange County where you can have a much better dining experience. Perhaps I just caught the restaurant on an off night....but shouldn't a restaurant of this caliber not have an "off night?"

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