Catal in Downtown Disney review (Orange County) [Moved from Calif board]
I don't know which board this belongs in, as I don't count Orange County as part of the Los Angeles Areas. But maybe the board does.
Anyway, on to the review.
My girlfriend and I went to Catal last night on our way home from Magic Mountain. We sat on the balcony, with a view overlooking the Uva Lounge and Downtown Disney. We chose this location because of people watching and the inside seating was too cold.
Catal has a very extensive winelist (the equivalent of a full 11x17 piece of paper or more), but we decided to get other drinks instead. Mostly because we couldn't decide on a wine, and partially because of the mark-up. They had a 1998 Dom Perignon for $210 (not even a '96 or '93), which is a 110% markup from retail ($100 retail). I thought 110% was a bit extravagant, and am more used to 50-75%. We decided on mojitos, which were excellent with a good balance of sweet, lime, and liquor. I thought they could've been a little mintier.
I started with the Heirloom Tomato Salad, with burutta cheese. The tomatoes were flavorful and ripe, although one piece was slightly overripe. The cheese was soft and tender, like a fresh mozzarella. It had a vinaigrette, which complemented well.
My girlfriend started with the Compressed Salad, which had tiny slivers of apple on it. She was very pleased.
My entree was the paella a la Valencia, which was excellent. It had perfectly cooked shrimp and bay scallops, bits of sausage, chicken, red and yellow grape tomatoes, and 3 small mussels and 3 small clams. It was very flavorful. My only complaint is that it was served a little too hot, and I almost burned myself.
My girlfriend had the beef filet with asparagus and twice-baked truffle potato. The filet was perfectly cooked (medium rare) and, I'm told, was excellent. Her only complaint, which I seconded, was that the potato had little truffle flavor. There were no tiny bits of truffle, and you really had to try and taste the truffle. They could've spared a little more truffle oil.
For desert, we had the vanilla mascarpone mille-feuille with pineapple sorbet and some thinly sliced pineapple. It was very good. The only complaint was that the mascarpone flavor was subdued significantly by the vanilla, and the cheese was very icy and would've been better a little creamier.
Overall, we were very pleased and would definitely return. We have not been to the Uva Lounge to compare the casual dining versus the finer dining.
I've been there for breakfast before and want to try it for lunch or dinner sometime. Good to see a lengthy review on it here.
It's not bad at all -- and the nice thing is that it's nice enough that the hordes of people don't come stampeding into it, as they do with Tortilla Jo's (which also isn't bad).
How was the service? I've eaten at Catal several times, and the service was always disinterested. Glad you had a nice meal!
The one time I went the service was good. We caught them at a weird time when breakfast was just about to end but everything was fine as far as I was concerned. I take bad service at a restaurant as a fluke unless it happens at least twice.
We've been to Catal twice (4 months apart) and both times the service was shabby. Noticing how other tables were faring I'd say this was the norm on the evenings we were there.The food, when it arrived, was well prepared. My impression was that the servers simply couldn't have cared less. I feel the same as ChristianZ. Give'm a couple of chances. In most cases bad service is just a hiccup. At Catal it was consistant - bad.
Service ata restaurant is always important but to me it is not of penultimate importance. Sometimes servers act so nice it is almost cloying. Of course, you don't want servers to be outright rude but quality of food comes first. Hoping to make it back to Catal within a month or so and we'll see how their service is for my second time.