Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Having lived almost all life in Orange County, everyone knows about the Ritz-Carlton in Dana Point as a fine hotel establishment with a gorgeous view.  I myself have never been to their infamous Sunday brunch.
It was very nice of them to inform me of the newly added enoSTEAK restaurant and invite me to come down to try it out myself.  If you ever head down to the Ritz-Carlton, be sure to arrive early when there is sunlight out so that you may check out their gorgeous beach as well as take some beautiful photos before dinner!
I have always enjoyed the elegant decor and fresh flowers that are displayed throughout the hotel.  Valet parking is offered for the guests.
enoSTEAK has both a dining area or a large bar area for guests to converse over some great drinks and delicious appetizers.  Ms. Lin and I had dinner inside the main dining area where they have a great collection of wines displayed in the center of the room.
They have many cozy booths for couples or groups that want a more intimate feeling or they have tables in the center that are great for parties or business dinners.  It's a refined environment with very friendly service.
Ms. Lin and I started the night with a glass of Dom Pérignon and one of their Raya inspired drinks, the Yuzu Fresa.  They have a great list of cocktails to try.  The Yuzu Fresa was light and a great way to start of the meal.  If there are any wines that you love, please be sure to inquire with the server as they have a huge wine collection that may not be listed.
I was happy to see that they offered an Asparagus & Gioia Cheese Burrata Mozzarella with Chardonnay smoked salt and lemon basil vinaigrette to start.
It's very hard to find fresh burrata at times and I simply adore the taste.  Everything was very light on the plate and a great way to lead into a nice juicy steak!
A definite must have is the Smoked & Cured Meat and Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Board with dried fruits, nuts, cornichons, radishes, and crostini.  They have a great selection for the charcuterie, which included duck prosciutto.  I would love a full board of just that and the cheeses selected are as always very tasty.  Cowgirl Creamery always has great cheeses and come from the Bay Area.
All the steaks offered are either grain or grass fed from Niman Ranch.  They cut the meats in house and the butcher on site has been with the Ritz-Carlton for over 15 years.
My favorite cut was the Grilled Prime Rib Eye Steak, 14 oz.  The flavor was fabulous and the cut just melted in my mouth.  Definitely one of the best steaks I have had in Orange County and worth a trip! The rib eye was perfectly marbleized and tender.
With the steaks you can choose a Signature Compound Butter to add an extra kick to the steak.  You can choose from Black Summer Truffle, Roasted Heirloom Tomato, Gardens Herb & Garlic, 30i (meaning 30 ingredients) enoSTEAK Butter, and Tarragon Bearnaise Sauce.
Our server was super friendly and sweet as we couldn't make up our mind on which butters to use.  She offered that we could get two different kinds of butter if we would like.  I thought the steaks were very flavorful by themselves and it was fun to try the different flavors mixed in with the nicely prepared steak.  As always, truffle butter is a must for me!
Ms. Lin decided to try something different from me and ordered the Grilled Prime Bone in New York Steak, 16 oz.  This was a nice cut as well but not quite as tender as the rib eye steak.  The definite winner of the night was the rib eye, but for those who don't quite like their steak as fatty would definitely enjoy the leaner New York cut.  Regardless, everything was prepared and seasoned nicely accompanied with different butters to add another level to the flavor.
The steaks do not come with any sides so be sure to order some Enhancements to enjoy with the steak.  There were so many great choices that Ms. Lin and I were tempted to get every single one of them! We decided to try the Petit Basque Cheese & Chive Sour Cream Yukon Gold Potatoes, Smoked Almond & Duck Fat sautéed Five Grain Rice, Fiscalini & Summer Truffle Mac & Cheese, and the French Beans with Apple Smoked Bacon & Toasted Walnuts & Tomato Fondue.  All the choices sounded so delectable!
The tomato fondue was not quite what we thought it would be because there really was no fondue.  Instead it was nicely sautéed French beans.  As many people know, I am not an avid vegetable fan so I kind of wish we got the wild mushrooms or truffle fries.  The mashed potatoes were very creamy and went perfectly with the steaks.  We also loved the truffle mac and cheese.  I always love a crisp texture on top mixed in with the cheesy goodness.
For dessert they offered a Butterscotch Banana Pudding or a Nectarine & Blueberry Fried Pies served with Lemon Custard Ice Cream.  I really enjoyed the layered pudding.  There's a layer of butterscotch pudding, cookies, banana pudding, and chocolate on the bottom.  Be sure to dig that spoon in so that you can get a taste of all the layers together.  It's a great twist to a classic.
As for the fruit pies, they were good but not for me as I don't really like cooked fruits or even fresh fruits.  O=) They were freshly fried empanada-like treats, but much softer and lighter in texture.  This dessert is definitely lighter and would be good for those who are getting close to being full or are full.
We finished off the night a with a nice cup of Cappuccino.  I enjoyed how they served it with a tiny cube of white and brown sugar along with a nice biscotti topped of with a piece of chocolate, which was a nice tasty treat.
All in all I really enjoyed the rib eye and thought it was actually quite wonderful.  The Ritz-Carlton is always a great place to visit and enjoy the fabulous view.

enoSTEAK
1 Ritz-Carlton Dr
Dana Point, CA 92629
(949) 240-2000
ENO at The Ritz-Carlton on Urbanspoon

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