Last night we visited one of the Orange County restaurants trying to survive by openly defying the lockdown orders while safely and sensibly serving their customers in an outdoor setting. Their patio was recently expanded at what I am sure was great expense to comply with the previous orders banning indoor dinning.
The Winery Restaurant and Wine Bar in Tustin provides a chic yet unpretentious dinning environment where diners come for anything from a casual family dinner to an elegant or formal event. You can find them on Facebook.
We made reservations earlier in the week and I called a few hours ahead to confirm they were open. My call was greeted by a very enthusiastic gentleman who sounded genuinely please that we were coming.
We started dinner sharing the steak tartar, which was fresh and delicious, despite it being a little heavy on the mustard, according our son. We also shared the roasted hatch chili-chorizo-artichoke cheese dip, which I found extremely tasty despite my usual aversion to artichoke. The chili and chorizo flavors were just prominent enough to hide the artichoke flavor without overpowering its cheesy goodness.
Our son ordered the seared duck breast, which is served with pumpkin spaetzle, braised red cabbage, and kumquat marmalade. The duck was cooked to perfection and melted in your mouth. The kumquat marmalade gave it a slight citrus flavor that complimented the pumpkin in spaetzle. My son really enjoyed it, and even though I am not a fan of duck I must admit it was amazing.
My wife had the chili lime rubbed Hawaiian mahi-mahi with grilled tropical fruit chutney and jasmine rice. The mahi-mahi was again cooked to perfection in a light chili and lime crust that complimented the flavor of the rice. I must admit I was jealous when I tasted it.
I had the Chilean sea bass from their daily specials. It was served with a parmesan risotto and a light tomato-based sauce. Every bite was a cause for celebration. The sea bass was flaky, and the risotto was about the creamiest I ever had, combined with the sauce it was tres magnifique!
Overall, it was a great dinner and we are proud to have done our small part in helping them through these tough times.