Wednesday, January 7, 2009

When they say Hidden Kitchen, they truly mean it! I have recently invested in a GPS since I am always out and about. Even with this I couldn't really find the restaurant. It would have been nice if someone told me what the store front was like, so I will help everyone else out now lol. You should have seen my puzzled look when the GPS said you have arrived. I looked around this dinky small isolated plaza in awe. After spinning around in circles I started to see people that could be in my part and went inside.. Hallelujah! Apparently they shared the Rooster Cafe's space. At night they turn the place into a small restaurant.
The tables are simply decorated and modern, still that does not negate the whole ambiance. As hard as they try, we are still in a hole in the wall and not an upscale restaurant. They are super super friendly there. Different kinds of bread was given with butter and sea salt on top. Many people recommended the Syrah from Santa Barabara County so the other people on the table decided to order a bottle. This was my first time drinking Syrah and it was not bad, but I am not a big red wine fan yet. The guy was very generous and brought over some leftover wine once they drank the bottle.
PK, aka my date haha, and I decided to share a French Press Coffee since we both don't like to drink alcohol. At first I was excited hoping to reminisce about the wonderful aroma and delectable taste of great coffee I had in Morocco every morning. Sadly, this was not the same French Press Coffee I had there. This was a watered down flavorless coffee. =*(
It's definitely good to have a date that way I can get to try almost everything on the menu. ^_- PK and I shared everything so we can get the most out of our meal. I chose the American-Made Charcuterie Plate La Quercia Prosciutto & Speck and Fra' Mani Chorizo. This plate was a huge disappointment. I have traveled all over Europe eating the best charcuterie/cold cuts. The only thing that was good on the plate was the Prosciutto. I thought the Chorizo was almost inedible. PK and I discussed that this was sort of a let down .
The other appetizer we tried was the Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash Sage and Mascarpone Cheese. This dish was a bit bland. I didn't really care for the risotto.
There were only 2 main courses to choose from, which works out great since we didn't have to pick and choose. There was the Local Sea Bass and Manila Clams with Saffron, White Wine, and Shallots that had a very strong alcoholic flavor. The white wine was way overpowering and killed the flavor of the entire dish. I normally love sea bass, but I feel like the center could have been more tender.
The Short Ribs with Horseradish Cream Pureed Yukon Gold Potatoes and Wilted Organic Spinach was a lot better tasting than the sea bass. I thought the ribs were flavorful enough and tender. After seeing PK's reaction to the sea bass, I almost didn't want to switch dishes after I eat my half. lol O=)
They also only had 2 choices for dessert. At first when I looked at the menu I was happy to see that they offered an Artisanal Cheese Plate with Pecorino Toscano Stagionato (Italy-Sheep's Milk) and Urgelia (Spain-Cow's Milk). I wasn't too impressed with the cheese selection. One of my loves in life is cheese and I have some cheese stores on speed dial. ^_^ I liked the sheep's milk with a sharper flavor and harder texture than the cow's milk. PK actually liked the softer cheese, which works out because she could have it all. I asked if they had honey to compliment the flavor of the cheese but they only had the small compliments on the plate. Not exactly what I'd call a cheese plate.
The Eggnog Bread Pudding with Brandied Crème Anglaise that was nothing too special. I couldn't really taste any eggnog flavor. It was just any regular bread pudding with alcohol.
All in all the service was friendly but the food was underwhelming. With all the talk about this moving "Hidden Kitchen" I was expecting a great find. Despite the great reviews that some people gave of the night, a bunch of us agree that this was not that great. The good thing is that it was $35 for the 3-course meal. At least I didn't have to waste too much money for the meal. Maybe it was an off night, but I don't think I will be back.

Hidden Kitchen
750 Saint Clair St
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 662-5808
The Hidden Kitchen on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

i'm confused, which kind of french press were you looking for?

Anonymous said...

The ribs look good!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... the food looks pretty good on your pictures :) Sounds like they had good ideas but not quite perfectly executed.

Kat said...

Hey Matt... sorry if I was being confusing.. I was just looking for good strong aromatic French Press Coffee... like the ones I had for breakfast in Merrakesh, Morocco... the one here was watery and gross =*(

Hey Eileen! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season! The ribs were good but everything else was just sub-par. If you like ribs, we can always go exploring ^_-.

Thanks 5 Star Foodie... I always try to make the photos look delicious and tempting. I completely agree that the thought was there but execution was lacking. They were really nice but I wouldn't go back for the food... they can stay hidden O=9

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