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The Summit House in Fullerton

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We're having our annual re-union dinner Feb. 5. One couple is coming from Yorba Linda, one from Fullerton, one from Pacific Palisades and we are in the West Valley.

Most recently we've done Windows downtown, Del Rae in Pico Rivera, Northwoods Inn in Anaheim and Charlie G's in Tarzana.

We are looking for a place that is somewhat convenient for all parties. Obviously due to the locations involved someone will have to drive a bit. We drove out to the Del Rae (took 1 hr 45 min!), and they had to drive out to Tarzana (took us 15 min). Windows was most centrally located.

One party, the one in Fullerton (of course) has suggessted The Summit House, in, of course, Fullerton. I am not familiar (at all) with OC eateries.

Can you fellow Chowhounds give me some info on this place and/or any possible other recs? Since we see each other only once a year and there are 8 of us, we need a place that is condusive to talking without yelling.

TIA

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  1. The "Antithesis of a Chowhound restaurant".

    Sad but...nice view, fairly nice environs, but completely uninspired food. (Think upscale, expensive Marie Callender's.)

    (Caveat: Because the food was so mediocre, I have not been in years. Perhaps there is someone who has recently suffered through a meal there who can comment further.)

    1. summit house is an english themed restaurant with nice genteel environment that is conducive to talking. food is slightly above average.

      if the weather is cool and raining the fireplace in there is a nice touch.

      however, i would rather dine at the cat and the custard cup in la habra. this is slightly better situated for those parties out in pv and west valley.

      check both out at www.catandcustardcup.com and www.summithouse.net

      1. Short answer, don't go. My bad experience there is that they want to be a nice restaurant and the price reflects it but their service is lacking and the food isn't bad but priced a touch high for the quality.

        My long answer and bad experience. We had our wedding rehearsal dinner there. Previously we had visited to check out the place, food, ambience, etc. While we dined we liked the prime rib and sides. The room seemed nice. We did think the service was a bit unpolished but we chalked it up to it being a busy Sat night. The place seemed to pass muster. We were getting married nearby and didn't want to subject our out of town guests to a long drive. We picked the place since both sides of the family were meat eaters and we knew no one would turn down prime rib. The arrangements started well enough, I made reservations and asked for the manager since I wanted some special handling. We didn't want our guests to see the prices and maybe balk at ordering. Therefore we were going to print up our own menus with an abbreviated selection of the entrees mainly listing the various cuts of prime rib, plus soups, salads, etc. All verbiage taken straight from the house menu. I stressed to the manager that we would provide the menus that night and that it was for a rehearsal dinner. That I would hand the hostess our menus when we arrived and were to be seated. I provided a credit card and confirmed that I would pay the bill no matter how much either set of parents may argue about asking for it. Unfortunately our party was not big enough for a private room but we were assured that it wouldn't be a problem since we were arranging things so far ahead. The reservations were for 7 p.m. on a Friday.

        The night of the dinner, all of us had arrived a few minutes before 7. The first sign of trouble was when no one at the hostess stand knew anything about our menus. I shrugged it off when the hostess assured us we would be seated soon and took the menus from me after I explained what I wanted. We were chatting away and I suddenly realized it had been a half hour. I inquired and was told that they were backed up and were working on clearing the tables. We went back to talking although our East Coast friends were a bit tired at this point everyone was still in good spirits. Another 15 minutes passed and I inquired again. I was assurred that we would be seated soon. We waited another 15 minutes and I asked again it was now 8 a full hour after our reservations and I was fuming. I was told that they only had one space large enough to accomodate a party of our size and the previous party was lingering over drinks. I asked for the manager and complained telling him our guests were hungry. His only reply was that he didn't have the space and we were welcome to sit at the bar. At no time did he offer to buy us drinks or even send out something. When I asked about getting some appetizers, he said they were not set up to serve us outside the dining room. I then inquired about the empty tables that I saw towards the back. His reply was that those tables weren't available but we would be seated soon.

        We were both fuming at this point while trying to put on a happy face for our guests. We were finally seated at 8:30. I asked to speak to the manager while everyone was seated and complained again about what happened. He just shrugged and said he couldn't do anything about it. He then offered me a bottle of champagne as a apology. I told him that we didn't drink champange. His reply was that it was free. I told him that it didn't make a difference since neither one of us drank the stuff. We stared at each other for a while and I finally said I think it would be nice if some of ladies got a free dessert or something like that. He said he could probably arrange something.

        Dinner went somewhat smoothly after that even though we didn't get our soups or salads until 9, which was midnight for our East Coast friends. The service was perfunctionary at best. We felt that we were being rushed somewhat as the restaurant started emptying out. My sister loves prime rib but can't eat a lot. She purposely ate only half and wanted to take home the rest. While she had her head turned, her plate was whisked away. When she asked about it, she was told it was thrown away already. To further add insult, at the end of the meal, the waiter had no idea about the comped desserts. When I inquired what was available, the waiter returned and said the manager was only comping the fruit. Needless to say I thought that was the last straw. Since it was about 11 at this point, everyone was tired and we acted pleasantly towards our party and agreed that it was time to go.

        Luckily neither my wife nor I let these types of things bleed into other things and we just put the experience behind us and enjoyed our wedding. After our honeymoon, I wrote a letter and tried contacting someone other than the manager. I never received a return call or any other contact. So we vowed never again and will continue spreading the word. Thanks for reading if you've gotten this far.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Jase

          The Summit House was on my list of possible wedding locations. Thanks for sharing your story.

          1. re: TM

            you wouldn't want the oil pumps in your wedding pictures

          2. re: Jase

            Wow!

            We went for Thanksgiving dinner once. Despite having a reservation, we had to wait 1 hour!

            Some restaurants seem to "succeed" in spite of themselves.

            P.S.
            Wouldn't it be great if the Summit House went out of business and The Cat & The Custard Cup moved into their location!

          3. I have to echo the sentiments that the Summit House is pedestrian at best... and overpriced to boot. I wish it were otherwise as we live just a short distance away. If you are looking for other options, I would definitely say that Cat in the Custard Cup is a good option but they are pretty far from the freeway, so if you have long drives, it might be tough. Another good option is Napa Rose at the Grand Californian Hotel that's part of the Downtown Disney complex. The food is FANTASTIC and due to the nature of the destination it has very easy freeway access.

            Hope you enjoy, and please let us know what you end up doing.

            1. So sad that the food is so ordinary since the location is great! How about Mr. Stox in Anaheim (just west of State College Blvd. on Katella).

              We went for my birthday a couple months ago and they were very accommodating and quite good.

              Tangentially, I'd love to have someone explain to me why north OC is such a Chow wasteland. With the money here, we should have more good, upscale places, and with the people here we should have more good hole in the wall places. Is a puzzlement!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Dorothy

                Regarding your last line...perhaps "supply & demand". (No ability to discern, hence no demand???)