Charlie Palmer's at Bloomingdales
Has anyone been to the new Charlie Palmer's at Bloomingdales in South Coast Plaza yet? It just opened this week. His Aureole Restaurant in New York is quite wonderful, so am anxious to hear about this venture.
No where near LA here but I really respect CP. He is a very good Chef and we never miss a chance to eat at Aureole in Vegas.
It's sooo new I hate to make any pronouncements, but here are just the facts:
Handsome room, open airy, lightfilled. Odd access (best bet is to park by Bloomies' southernmost exposure). Best seating is in the central; area, I will avoid the east wall area due to noise.
Massive wine list made even more daunting by its PDA-type format. When you tire of messing with it, they will gladly provide a hard copy. Next time, I'll ask for that up front. Impressively moderate pricing on wines (hence,$25 corkage).
Upscale, polished service. Not at all fussy.
Menus are now online. My bacon wrapped quail (a waiter recco) was awesome. Salumi platter, a starter, was pure delight (far too much for one, could serve 3). The pureed yokon golds were excellent.Desserts uniformly dazzling (I had the Gianduja with roasted marshmallow). My date's flatiron steak had was one of the best I've ever had in a restaurant.
Cocktails were primo, and priced that way.
here are some pictures from opening night
Of the food we tried--and it was a lot--I most liked the charcuterie plate (all made in house), the tortellini ap was great, as was the pork belly. Friends each had a steak--the filet with blue cheese crust and NY strip were both superb. I liked my lamb, cooked beautifully nicely seasoned, but loved the tiny pile of braised lamb shoulder on the plate more. Sides: our potatoes gratin were not cooked all the way through, but flavor was good; creamed spinach delightful as was the asparagus. But the farro risotto with morels OH so good, should be an entree. Also liked the crimini with oxtail ragout. The wines were killer, desserts fantastic just a bit more deconstructed for my taste. We had one server that was kind of flaky in that firs-night way, but earnest. The lounge menu looks absolutely superb, and of the two cocktails I tasted, both were well-balanced and very very sippable, especially the cosmo one my friend had which sounded sweet but spot on. All in all, I wish it was in LA.
Had a great meal on Friday night. Chef Palmer greeted our party personally and came by after the meal to see if we enjoyed the meal. The answer was a resounding yes! Had the scallops in spicy tomato broth with crab. Lovely. My sister had the lamb with apricot and it was delicious. I'm not a big lamb fan either. The vanilla roasted pineapple with brown sugar cake was just tremendous. The restaurant is a welcome addition to Orange County.
Went to CP's last night, and although the experience was mixed, this place has enormous potential which I really think (and hope) will be met.
Very polite, polished, and warm service...anxious to please
Terrific and fairly priced wine list (on a notebook pc no less!)
Interesting and generally well-executed menu
Management very open to comments and suggestions
Minuses...all of which are easily correctible, and may be due to newness of restaurant
Cocktails although good, were obviously too small (martini glass filled 70%%)
Some foods were not hot, and one person's fish was overcooked and dry
Desserts although excellent were a bit too precious (read small!)
Attention to detail sometimes missed (served a glass of ice without an accompanying spoon or tongs, tap water poured into our glasses of bottled Pelligrino, etc.)
We had a very nice evening, will surely return and bet that some of these minuses will be corrected in short order!