A Thanksgiving to Remember (for the wrong reasons).
My wife and I thought it would be a special treat to take my Mother to Charlie Palmer's for Thanksgiving. Having dined twice before it seemed a sure thing. Reservation was for 1:00 PM this afternoon (Thanksgiving 2011). Upon arrival we noticed an odor similar to a butcher shop in need of cleaning. I noticed the carper and floors were dirty (greasy and crumbs everywhere). Prix Fixe menu, $75 a head. My 1st course lobster bisk was barely warm and very fishy. Wife's potato gnocchi a huge plate of starchy, ugly, "slugs" heavy with a strong, rancid truffle oil taste. Mother's Oak salad good but not memorable in any way. Our 2nd course, two slow basted turkey & traditional sides... Turkey and mashed potatos way too salty. Turkey wrapped in a slimy, tough strip of turkey skin, and was also tough and dry. "Stuffing" was too sweet and was 80% undercooked pollenta. Wife had the Red Wine Beef Cheeks which arrived as a black lump on a black bed of lentil bumps. Very very ugly. The lentils were without flavor... just like black starch beads. The beef well cooked but bright red. I tried a fork-tip sample and my wouth became coated with a thick fat layer as if I had licked a spoon full of lard. I doubt anyone could have eaten the portion served my wife without vomiting (I appologize for using that word but I wish to convey how much thick fat was encased in that meat). All three of our main course plates were 2/3rds full when cleared. The 3rd course, desert, my sweet potato strudel was tough on the bottom, dry on the top, and really nothing I would order again. My wife's Chocolate cake was gritty (seriously, how do you make a cake gritty?!) and runny in the center, which may have been on purpose, like a lava cake, but with an appearance that I would interpret as undercooked, not intentional. My mother's Creme Brulee was excellent. So for $280 we went home dissapointed and hungry. This meal was so bad that I honestly don't think I will ever go back to Palmer's, even though my first two meals there were great. Perhaps all the chefs were off for the holiday and the valets were promoted to the kitchen? Almost forgot - dirty silverware and glasses too. Bon appetit? mais non!
Citysearch Editorial Review.
Cuisine, couture and wine come together at this luxe outpost of Charlie Palmer’s in South Coast Plaza. An upscale dining spot to relax after shopping (or for young OC studs to impress their cougars), the sophisticated and modern space glows in smart whites and golds, tinged with ironic rustic touches like translucent glass tree photos and giant nuzzling horses. Executive chef Amar Santana offers a seasonal New American menu with classical French accents and exquisite presentation. Small plates and appetizers include roasted bone marrow, slow braised tripe, duck meatballs and fresh oysters, as well as crisp pork belly and ahi tuna tartare. Mains include spice-rubbed New Zealand venison, thyme-roasted wild striped bass, and a 16-oz. bone-in rib eye. For dessert, there's a crème brulee trio or honey crisp apple crumble.