Dining at Saddle Peak Lodge seems more like a mini-getaway than just dinner. First, there's the drive up the quiet and lush Malibu Hills. Once you get there, you enter the rustic lodge, with animal head trophies along the walls and a warm fireplace.
We went with the 8-course Chefs Tasting Menu (hey it's my birthday). Photos: http://tinyurl.com/saddlepeak
We started with a warm chestnut soup as the amuse bouche.
It's warm and slightly sweet, a very nice intro and made me warm and happy after walking in the chilly Malibu hills air.
Wild Fijian Albacore sashimi, melon cilantro vinaigrette
The albacore is fresh and flavorful and the combination with the citrus is great. I'm usually not that big a fan of albacore, but I really enjoyed this dish.
Sautéed Maine day boat scallop
Relish of scarlet corn, peach, cucumber, lime and green zebra tomato broth
The scallops were on the small side, but was fresh. Loved the peaches in this dish.
Morel mushroom and fava bean fricassee, topped with ricotta cheese.
A great dish, perhaps my favorite of the night. The agnolotti goes very well with the morel mushrooms and the ricotta cheese is a very nice touch.
Seared line caught salmon
Blistered cherry tomatoes, vegetable “papardele” and saffron zucchini blossom butter
The vegetable papardele were superfluous IMO, but this is a nice wild salmon that's cooked very well! And delicious, delicious cherry tomatoes.
Seared La Belle Farms foie gras
caramelized apricots, brioche toast, meyer lemon duck jus and ginger infused apricot purée
The foie gras had a nice melt-in-your-mouth consistency and the apricots were a nice pairing. I didn't like the brioche toast with it since I thought the soggy toast didn't pair well with the foie gras but my companion liked it a lot -- to each his own.
Wood grilled California squab
Medjool date, brown fig, heirloom tomato, basil compote and leek chip
Not particularly meaty, but it's a nice, lean, gamey meat. Liked it with the fig.
Roasted New Zealand elk tenderloin
parsnip mousselin, braised bacon and brandied cherry ragôut
*sigh* I unfortunately am so so stuffed at this point. The elk was gamey and tender. I love the parsnip mousselin. I had to take it home since I couldn't finish it though.
Warm farmers market peach beignets
caramelized whipped cream and toasted hazelnuts
A nice warm dessert for the wintry weather. The beignets are fluffy, filled with nice peach chunks that aren't overly sweet. A bit heavy though as an ending to the heavy meal that preceded it.
Dining at Saddle Peak Lodge is very enjoyable, with a unique, cozy atmosphere (as far as LA restaurants go) and great food. Their game meat selection alone is a reason to go.