So the grandparents were wonderful this weekend. They offered to watch the kids (ages 3 & 4) for the weekend so the parental units could go and eat and eat and eat. Lunch at Pascal yesterday (fantastic) and dinner at Basilic on Balboa island (wonderful)... report to follow soon.
But tonight, the missus and I headed over to a place not too far from home that we hadn't been to, but has been around for a while. We had dinner this evening at a place in La Habra called the Cat in the Custard Cup.
Had an early (6pm) reservation, we arrrived about 10 minutes late (called ahead to let them know), seated promptly, and had a great dinner. Started with their scallops appetizer (me), French Onion soup (wife) both were very good. The French Onion soup is here is actually done with a CHICKEN stock vs. the traditional beef stock, and it served to cut down on the saltiness as well as "round out" the soup quite a bit.
Second course was a lobster bisque (me) with bay shrimp and Bibb salad w/stilton bleu cheese (wife), again, very well done. The cream content of the lobster bisque was a bit less than a traditional preparation, which I preferred.
The kitchen then surprised us with a third course of a small miniature crab cake. Really good. Had a little avocado on it that provided a very nice contrast. Liked it quite a bit.
For the first three course we had the 2002 Peter Michael L' Apre Midi Sauvignon Blanc which we purchased off their list for around $60 (retail is around $35-$40 or so), which was great. For the entree, we opened a 2001 Ramey Jericho Canyon that we brought with us (FANTASTIC)... corkage is $15.
Entrees were the Osso Buco w/Israeli couscous (wife) and a Filet Mignon w/cabernet reduction (me)... I know, really mainstream, but both were executed VERY WELL, and boy did I LOVE eating the marrow from my wife's Osso Buco. Perfect execution on both dishes. Veg on the filet were asparagus and carrots, and starch was mashed potatoes. Again, not the most adventurous menu choices, but very well executed and we enjoyed them immensely. Other items on the menu that we didn't try included an interesting duck breast w/Grand Marnier sauce and a venison entree which I thought hard about trying.
Dessert was an English Trifle (me) and Bread Pudding (wife)... both were excellent, but my wife thinks (she's looking over my should right now) that her's was better.
Service was excellent. Our wine that we brought was decanted properly and promptly, and we had just the right amount of attention. All in all the meal was a winner.
The tab came to $190 which included a $60+ bottle of wine, and we felt that to be a great value.
One note about some items they have going. On the wine list was a first growth Bordeaux from 1989 that has recieved a 100 point rating from Parker priced at just about $50 over what you would find in the current auction market... I haven't seen that wine for less than $1,200-$1,500 on any restaurant wine list anywhere, also there were several 25+ year old bottles of Chateau Petrus priced less than $500-$700 per bottle. I know it seems REALLY, REALLY crazy to say that $500-$600 bottles of wine are a bargain, but believe me, if you collect this stuff, you know how crazy and low this pricing really is. Please don't yell at me about this, but I just had to point this out for oenophiles amongst us.
Also, this restaurant has certain nights of the week where they offer a special wine list at $1 over their cost, as well as other nights where they have free corkage. Obviously very wine friendly. They are also having a special of Silver Oak Alexander Valley at $79, which is probably around $15 above retail, and great price for a restaurant, since they are celebrating their 25th year in business, and they opened in 1979.
One last note. Some may express concern that this is the same group that owns the El Cholo chain of Mexican restaurants... which may be a plus or minus in some minds, but let me assure you, our experience tonight was definitely Chowhound-worthy.
All in all a great evening. Great food, excellent service. We will definitely be returning soon.