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Penfold's Cattle Company in Temecula

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Really liked this place Friday night. It is in Old Town Temecula on the third floor of the building. http://www.penfoldscattlecompany.com/
Penfold's Cattle Company (lunch and dinner only
)42072 5th Street
Temecula, CA
(951) 699-2895

We went to Old Town Temecula for the Jazz Festival and had little idea of the food quality in the many restaurants on that main street (Front Street). So, we opted for a quick dinner at Texas Lil's 'cause we heard good things. Enjoyed the food (but loved Penfold's more). Texas Lil's had a chicken pot pie soup that was comforting, but not mind blowing. A small house salad was simple and too expensive for what you got ($3.99 for iceburg). The tilapia (steamed?) was prepared with lemon caper sauce) served with fresh veggies and coconut jasmine rice was excellent and only $12.99! Really enjoyed this simple dish. What put us off was the service and how loud it was in there. I guess many guys like it because the waitresses look like a Western-style Hooter's waitress. And, they sit down with the customers while they ignore others. We had four people (three girls) and had not been in before. And, we were not being demanidng. We were told to sit anywhere and we asked for a menu. It was ten minutes before we got up and asked the bartender for a menu - that's when our waitress then offered one. And, it was not busy in there at that time (6:15 pm) We ordered iced tea and coffee and she forgot the coffee. And, when asking for a refill, she just didn't show until ten minutes later when we got up to find our waitress sitting in a booth and sharing a few bites with another customer - I guess regulars get much better service (like many places?) and most of the regulars there are men. Cowboy theme. The menu was inviting enough we might try the place again, but service was so bad, maybe we won't.

The gem we will remember and return to any time was Penfold's Cattle Company. Seared Ahi appetizer was excellent; fresh sushi grade Ahi encrusted with pepper, quickly seared, sliced and fanned on top of an artistic trail of creamy cucumber sauce (like Tzatziki sauce flavor, but no mint), a ramekin of tasty ponzu dipping sauce set next to a few fresh field greens with shredded carrots.

While the jazz festival offered about five jazz bands playing on the streets and many restaurants (from hot dogs to escargot) continuing their Friday night bands inside, we heard some great music and started walking that way. Turns out it was upstairs at Penfold's, a few yards down on 5th St. from Front Street (the main Old Town street).

It was much later, maybe almost 10 pm, when we walked in. The chef was up front at the hostess area and a really, really nice guy. Really formal place, but the staff was relaxed as mom and pop on a front porch rocker. We actually went in for a drink, but the menu looked so inviting. We just ordered from the bar menu (that is the same as the appetizer menu). But, others were eating dinner out on the patio and each dish looked super good. We almost asked the two gals next to us for a bite of their steak with roasted peppers and onions is smelled so good. We didn't see it on the menu, but they were the band's main squeeze's - so maybe a special.

The wine list is long, but California wines and a few Italian. They even had some wines on their bar not on their menu. I had a cabernet from a local winery, Wein's Family Cellars.

Has anyone else eaten there lately? Would love to know more about Penfold's menu through other's taste. We are so ready to go back.

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