For as long as I can remember, the Santa Clarita Valley has been referred to as “chain restaurant hell” [okay, maybe that was me saying that]. With the independent restaurants that have opened in our valley in the last several years, it is getting harder and harder to make that joke.
And now, having somehow gotten myself and Karen invited to the “influencers” preview at the NEW Oaks Grille Restaurant at TPC Valencia [it helps having Eve Bushman as my boss], I can safely say that the SCV has moved to the restaurant “heaven” category.
Before getting into the details of what we tried that evening, let me share with you some information that was provided to us by Troy Hooper, Director of Operations of Tournament Players Club Valencia…
The Oaks Grille (along with the Banquet venues and special events) is open to the public – so come one and come all!
The menu is “seasonally refreshed.” Produce comes from regionally local growers and proteins are “Farm to Fork” – they know at all times where their meats and fishes come from.
Products are certified sustainably sourced. Executive Chef Peyton Poulsen is a winner of SCV Ultimate Chef and the wine list has been put together by a Sommelier with 25 years of experience.
Now, onto the menu for the evening, where we got to sample a small selection of what you have in store when you visit the Oaks Grille…
Salmon Poke – house cured salmon tossed with tomatoes, cilantro, onion and jalapeno, finished with Hawaiian chili pepper water, toasted macadamia nuts and red sea salt.
House Bacon – thick cut house made bacon, beer battered and flash fried, served with pancake fritters and drizzled with a blackberry gastrique and Vermont maple syrup.
“Garden” Salad – mizuna, blue cheese crème, shaved candy cane beets and pomegranate seeds, tossed in a hazelnut vanilla vinaigrette and garnished with edible flowers.
Smoked Ahi Salad – cold smoked ahi with tatsoi, pickled mushrooms, cucumber and roasted macadamia nuts, toasted in a lilikoi vinaigrette with a hard-cooked egg.
Vegetable Sacchetti – truffle and cheese filled pasta purses with mushrooms, onion, sun dried tomatoes and arugula, tossed in a white wine butter reduction.
Glacier 51 Sea Bass – pan seared over an orange cardamom quinoa with marinated golden raisins, candied pecans, splashed with a passion fruit reduction and micro basil.
Ora King Salmon – pan seared over farro, baby squash, finished with a peach and chilie chutney.
Colorado Rack of Lamb – harissa marinated lamb flame grilled, over babaganoush with spiced garbanzo beans and lentils finished with a cool cucumber relish.
All of the above were delicious, but I do have some notes on a few that really stood out for me…
House Bacon – OMG, OMG, OMG. I could have stopped with this. Fortunately, Karen doesn’t eat bacon, so I got hers. And then Eve was wandering around with a plate of these and Karen took another one…for me! OMG.
Smoked Ahi Salad – loved the smokiness of the ahi. From Karen: The smoke enhanced/complemented the fish. The nuance was subtle but distinct.
Vegetable Sacchetti – almost didn’t try this because, you know, vegetable. That would have been dumb. Amazingly rich and delicious.
Glacier 51 Sea Bass – another one that I almost skipped. Karen loves sea bass; me usually not that much. This was cooked perfectly. From Karen: I congratulated the chefs on having the fish just right – medium to medium rare.
Colorado Rack of Lamb – of course I’d love this one.
Everyone this evening seemed to agree that the entire evening’s menu was perfect. And again, this is only a sample of a much larger new menu at the Oaks Grille that looks like it will please everybody, from starters to desserts. [I’m personally especially looking forward to trying the Berkshire Pork Porterhouse and the Durham Ranch Bison Rib Eye.]
Along with the new wine list, the Oaks Grille offers a great selection of specialty cocktails, including The Daily, which as the name implies is created new each day by the TPC Valencia bartenders.
I’d be remiss to not give a shout out to our servers that evening. You can tell when people are well trained and care about providing great service. Thank you to them and to Troy for hosting us. We can’t wait to go back.
Check out Eve’s slideshow of the event here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVIngqlZRAo&feature=share
Michael Perlis has been pursuing his passion for wine for more than 25 years. He has had the good fortune of having numerous mentors to show him the way, as well as a wonderful wife who encourages him and shares his interest. After a couple of decades of learning about wine, attending events, visiting wineries and vineyards, and tasting as much wine as he possibly could, he had the amazing luck to meet Eve Bushman. Now, as Contributing Editor for Eve’s Wine 101, he does his best to bring as much information as possible about wine to Eve’s Wine 101 faithful readers. Michael is also Vice President of Eve Bushman Consulting (fka Eve’s Wine 101 Consulting) http://evebushmanconsulting.com/ and President of MCP Financial. Michael can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.