Saturday, March 15, 2008

I have been meaning to try Nirvana Grill for a long time. You would never expect such a place tucked away at where the old Blockbuster use to be. Google map was not very accurate in showing where this place was located and wasted a lot of my gas driving back and forth trying to find this place. I went for an early dinner and there was not a soul to be seen, I really wonder how much business they get a day. The decor was very nice, tasteful, and elegant. There were a LOT of staff members, I can't imagine that they need 6 people on the floor in a tiny restaurant that doesn't seem to busy. This does not include staff inside the kitchen. They were chatting in the background and you can totally hear their conversation since it was only my Mom and I in the restaurant.
It took a little while for the bread to come out. They must bake or heat the bread up when you arrive so that they taste hot and fresh. I was starving because I fasted the day before, so I might be a little easier pleased by food. The bread was very tasty, it was sourdough. Piping hot bread goes great with butter, although I could taste either the freezer burn or refrigerator taste in the butter. I really liked the outside of the bread, which was crispy and tasty. The center was steaming hot and soft, just the way I like it.
I have already checked out their website a long time ago and had an idea on what entrées I would like to try out. We decided to share the dishes. My Mom has been on this huge craze about Chilean Sea Bass. It's sooooo delicious! You can never go wrong! You feel the same way don't you Tofu? lol I recommended her to order their specialty, the Pistachio Crusted Chilean Sea Bass, Beurre Blanc with Asparagus in Meyer Lemon Oil and Caramelized Leek Mashed Potatoes. The presentation was simplistic but lacked elegance in my opinion, it's as if they were just set down onto the plate without any thought. At first I felt that the flavor was lacking a little, but as I took more bites it delighted my mouth. The asparagus was decent, the beurre blanc was delicious and light. Chilean sea bass never disappoints me! It was delicious, tender, and felt very light. There was a light crust that added a crisp texture into the bite. I'd probably come back for this dish again... maybe...
For the other entrée I chose the Sun-Dried Tomato Crusted Australian Rack of Lamb with an Herb Demi Glace, Green Beans & Oyster Mushrooms & Sea Salt, and Caramelized Leek Mashed Potatoes. I was a little disappointed with this dish because I LOVE sun-dried tomatoes but they do not compliment the lamb. In fact, the strong taste overpowers the delicate flavor of lamb. There were too many things that were extremely powerful in taste. I really didn't like the oyster mushrooms because they were so strong and overbearing. The herb demi glace sauce by itself was salty and strong which only made the sun-dried tomato taste sweeter. This only further masked the delicious flavor of lamb. The rack of lamb was cooked to perfection in my opinion, but I don't know how they can call it a crust. As soon as you lift the lamb all the crust falls off. For most of the meal I had to pick up the "crust" and slather it on the lamb. Don't get me wrong, I still think the dish was good but it could have been a LOT better if the components worked.

All in all the food was good and the service was friendly. I was little annoyed of the employees talking so much and at a very audible level when no one else was in the restaurant. Even though I was starving to death, I wasn't too wowed with the food. Overall I think the chef knows how to make delicious food, although they go overboard at times. I do think that less is sometimes better. The sea bass was good, partly because sea bass itself is always delicious. It did leave a nice aftertaste in my mouth. This time I didn't have a coupon, but I bought a certificate online so technically I saved money. Yet even with the certificate of $25 off, our meal ended up being $46 with tax and tip. So if you think about it, a meal for two people was around $71 for just two entrées. It's definitely on the pricey side. I am willing to pay a lot for delicious food, but I don't know if they were worth it. For that amount, I'd rather go up to LA and get a nice pre-fixed meal. I am still debating if I'd be back...we will see. ^_^;


Kat said...

FYI, after the whole hoop~la from OCHH Week this restaurant is on my ban list. I am still leaving the original review because that is what I thought. As a warning to all, they have horrible service and I would not return. I have the crappy restaurant certificates if anyone wants to use them. To be honest, there are TONS of better restaurants in the area and at a better value. Avoid this place!

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