Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Napa Rose - Anahiem

It was Saturday night and we had a double date. Didn't know any good "in between" establishments from Irvine to Whittier, so why not the Magic Kingdom? I love the fact that valet is comped when you park at the Grand Californian for hotel dining. One less thing to fuss about. We arrive slightly ahead of schedule and decide to crossover into Downtown Disney for a quick stroll. Downstairs at Catal looked packed, and there was a line just to be seated at Uva Bar. I love reservations.

Back at the hotel we glide past families milling around Storyteller Cafe (pretty decent buffet, btw) for their name to be called. Once through the Napa Rose entrance, I sense the calm Craftsman-style beckoning me to be seated. Katheryn and Michael arrive minutes after, and we are ready to begin.

As much as I would normally get into great detail about the music and decor, I'm opting to spare the details for once (and only one time) and discuss the spread at our table. Our guests brought a bottle of sparking wine as a belated present, so we promptly asked for it to be chilled. Our bubbly server noted that it would complement the Seven Sparkling Sins starter to share. Was that a tongue twister? Three servings were thus ordered, and we awaited its arrival. We were blown away by the results. Savory spicy beef cucumber roll, curried crab taco (his favorite), Ahi "Tatiki" hand roll (Kathryn's fave), tarragon lobster relish, potato pancake with citrus cured salmon (my favorite), "BBQ" fried oyster, and grape leaves stuffed with pheasant and preserved lemon. It was a stellar start.

The entire Winter menu is lovely. If not for our "sins", I could've easily craved the grilled quail stuffed with hearth roasted portobello mushroom. It came with creamy stone ground polenta and sunset chili-toasted almond mole. A twist on wine country "Caesar" featured grilled romaine hearts with a golden garlic balsamic vinaigrette. What about some scalloped Yukon golds with Gruyere, leeks, and applewood smoked ham? Mmmmmm.

The Vintner's Table tasting menu wasn't a unanimous decision, so we went our separate main course ways. Jack adored his Roasted Shells of the Sea. An array of sweet shrimp, pink scallops, little neck clams and Mediterranean mussels in a light crab broth flavored with Meyer lemon, garlic, and coriander. The variety was incredible, and those scallops had an unexpected presentation of still being attached to their shell. Clearly a winner. Kathryn chose the cashew crusted "Tai Snapper" with tempura fried shrimp over fried Himalayan red rice with pineapple and tangerine-coconut vinaigrette. Her silence was all the acceptance we needed to convince us she was enjoying dinner. Mike and I were on the same wavelength as we both ordered the bacon wrapped "maple leaf farms" duck breast with wild coastal mushrooms and dried apricot pecan conserve. What a savory sensation. Full flavored and satisfying, I could not ask for more, except perhaps the dessert menu.

Dessert was a bit of a blur, as we (again) all had our preferences. Our server, Rashelle, provided some insight. I must say, I had what was probably the best cheese plate. Ever. There were seven (7!) varieties, each with a detailed explanation of its flavoring and origin. Would you believe me if I told you it was $16? It trumped the chocolate truffle cake and creme brulee. This post would be ridiculously longer if I could find that detailed explanation.

Napa Rose
inside Disneyland's Grand Californian Resort
1600 S. Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, 92802
714.956.6755 (hotel) or 714.781.DINE (Disney Dining reservations)

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Comments on "Napa Rose - Anahiem"

Blogger ChristianZ said ... (March 19, 2008 at 10:34 AM) : 

I've wanted to get a food blogger meetup going at Catal before.

Blogger brekkie_fan said ... (March 19, 2008 at 11:20 AM) : 

I think I recall some excellent osso buco there. Being seated out overlooking DD (or even just a good window spot) is great.

Blogger Chubbypanda said ... (March 29, 2008 at 8:01 PM) : 

There are some surprisingly good dining places amongst the Disney properties now. There are also some incredibly bad ones.

Anonymous Anonymous said ... (April 6, 2008 at 7:40 PM) : 

I always wanted to try Napa Rose. Hmm... I guess I should get a move on. There are just so many restauarnts around there. It's so hard to go through them all. : )

Blogger kevinEats said ... (May 14, 2008 at 8:46 PM) : 

Ah yes, Napa Rose, one of the best in OC in my opinion. Been there three times. First time meh, next two wow!

Catal's not bad either.

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