The post below, in the "near Knott's Berry Farm" inquiry prompted me to add to the Napa Rose comment.
After yet another mediocre experience at the Water Grill (I know, no one else agrees, but after four visits, assuring that the chef was actually present, we had the tasting menu and were AGAIN underwhelmed - maybe Spago spoiled things)we tried the Napa Rose near Disneyland. I noticed that, for what it's worth, the 2004 Zagat Guide actually has the Napa Rose ranked higher for food (28) than any restaurant in LA county except Katsu-ya and Matsuhisa - which is out because of the timed table farce (but the Omakase Room has no such limits).
Did the OC schlep and had the Tasting Menu ("Vintner's Table").
Lobster Lasagne - perfectly done pasta with subtle lobster filling and a spark of jalapeno oil - remarkably sophisticated and well balanced
Calf's liver and smoked bacon - the liver had the consistency of filet mignon with an interesting crust. Too rich for me, but a liver lover's dream - the hit of the night for my companion
slow cooked lamb stew - incredibly deep flavors with the essence cabernet and rosemary - a perfect wine lover's foil for a lush, dark cab- especially one with a hint of eucalyptus
pumpkin cheesecake/ brandy caramel - not as successful as the other dishes, but no major complaint - less flavor than advertised
Had the wine accompaniment which included four overly generous pours (not necessarily a great thing with a complementary glass of champagne at the beginning):
Kendall-Jackson Great Estates (Monterey) 1999 - I had never had a KJ wine I actually enjoyed and had never heard of this one, but it's a winner - bright rich oak and a caramel-like finish; lots of interesting aftertaste
Mandolina Barbera (Sta Barbara) 2001 - a mistake - unfocused and rough, rapidly fading fruit, and a poor match with the rich liver
Andrew Murray Syrah (Santa Ynez) 2001 - unusual grapey depth with enough acid to handle the huge fruit presence; I would rather have had a Cab with the lamb but not a terrible match
Freemark Abbey Late Harvest Reisling 1999 - no Y'Quem but decent enough with the light cheesecake.
Treated like royalty by the extremely pleasant and knowlegable wait staff, the oldest of whom must have been 30. Very pleasant and comfortable surroundings with a clear view of all the goings on in the extensive kitchen. Stayed 3 1/2 hours without being rushed.
Total price, with wine and tip $120 each.
Next time I read of the wonders of the latest hot spot in LA and get the urge to go to, I will give this place a thought first. Although I disagree with the extreme Zagat rating (more like 25 than 28 for food) this place is great fun and is a relative bargain and well worth the trip