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Epicuryan: The Hobbit – 01/25/2018


2932 E. Chapman Ave
Orange, CA 92869
(714) 997-1972

Situated in a re-purposed 3 story home, The Hobbit was based by Howard and Beverly Philippi who took over the house in 1972 and constructed one of many longest lived positive eating establishments in Orange County. As one would possibly count on the identify is a nod to Tolkien, because the founders have been enamored of the leisurely way of life of the fictional race and hoped to seize slightly of their joie de vivre of their restaurant.

In the present day their son Michael Philippi runs the restaurant and although the menu has advanced considerably with the time, the format has remained largely unchanged. The restaurant provides a single 7-course menu that begins within the wine cellar earlier than diners transfer onto their very own tables the place they’re served seafood, a light-weight meat, and a salad. A brief intermission follows giving diners an opportunity to stretch their legs or hobnob with the chef earlier than returning for sorbet, the primary entrée, and dessert.

Canapes
The night formally kicks off at 7:00PM with champagne and hors d’oeuvres within the wine cellar. This gives company the chance to casually peruse the 1,000+ bottle wine cellar and choose bottles for the meal all whereas having fun with the plethora of small bites and a glass bubbly. Personally my favorites have been the steak tartare and the puff pastry filled with cheese, gruyere I believe, and a few kind of cured meat. For many who is likely to be overwhelmed by their decisions, the sommelier, Amy Cody, and her group are there to offer suggestions.













2012 Marcassin, Marcassin Winery, Sonoma Coast, Chardonnay
2004 Heitz, Martha’s Winery, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon
Along with having one of the crucial certainly one of Orange County’s best cellars, The Hobbit’s costs are among the many most affordable, with a lot of bottles at or beneath retail. We opted to select up a bottle of 2004 Heitz to associate with a 2012 Marcassin from my very own cellar. The Marcassin was elegant and nuanced, with honeysuckle, mushy white flowers, a great deal of citrus, stone fruit, and surprisingly little oak; a contemporary and ethereal classic that paired properly with the Salmon, salad, and Halibut. The Heitz could not have been extra completely different, with a deep nostril redolent of darkish fruit, earth, mint, and eucalyptus. The natural parts carry a component of stability that retains the wine from being too brooding.

Herb Roasted Salmon – Israeli Couscous, Blood Orange Beurre Blanc
I’ve by no means been an enormous fan of cooked salmon notably when the fish is cooked by means of. Nonetheless the dense texture labored effectively with the buttery heft of the sauce. The Beurre Blanc was undoubtedly the spotlight of the dish concurrently offering buttery richness and a contrasting citrus twang.

Petite Veal Osso Bucco – Po Valley Black Rice, Veal Jus
The meal acquired heavy in a rush with tender spherical of braised veal. The preparation includes a basic base of wealthy meaty jus with moderating parts of dense forbidden rice and a smattering of contemporary mirepoix greens that added each succulent highlights and a touch of bitterness. Sucking on the hole bone yields a small morsel of heady marrow to complete the dish.

Arugula & Endive Salad – Fuyu Persimmons, Candied Pecans, Crispy Prosciutto
I assumed it was odd to serve salad after the osso bucco, however timing apart, the salad was fairly fulfilling. The bitterness of the greens is deftly stored in verify by the persimmons and candied pecans. The prosciutto is fried to an intense crisp that gives a potent salinity to decorate the remainder of the dish.

Following the salad, we took a 20 minute intermission. The company have been requested to retire to one of many upstairs rooms or the patio because the employees reset the tables for the entrée

Sorbet – Orange
After we got here again to the desk, we have been introduced with a dollop of sorbet created from contemporary oranges. The cool delicate citrus was a pleasant choose me up 2.5 hours into the meal.

Filet of Beef en Crôute
The fundamental entrée was paying homage to a Beef Wellington. Although I usually discover filet bland, I assumed this minimize had sufficient meaty taste notably when coupled with the mushrooms. The skinny ring of dough has a heady butteriness that compliments the easy richness of the meat. The roasted potatoes, carrots, and radishes have been basic accompaniments, but it surely was the virtually jellied slab of squash or yam, loaded with maple sweetness, that accomplished the dish.

Contemporary Pacific Halibut – Child Bok Choy, New Yr’s Black Eyed Peas, Ginger Sauce
The choice foremost was a superbly cooked filet of halibut. Texturally the whole lot was spot on, however the taste was a bit flat and one dimensional because the ginger sauce was sadly muted. A splash of citrus or some spice may need labored higher..

Almond Cake – Housemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Contemporary Strawberry
The dessert was a reasonably dense almond cake. The flavour and texture was paying homage to a butter cake with a whiff of almond. With the addition of vanilla and tangy strawberry, the dessert is mainly an additional daring strawberry quick cake.

The “up to date continental” menu is maybe a bit dated however the spot-on execution made the meal solidly fulfilling. At 4 hours for 7 programs, the pacing was a bit gradual for my liking although I am glad I lastly made it out to The Hobbit for a eating expertise from a bygone period.

With a single prix fixe menu, strict costume code, and prospers just like the wine cellar tour and intermission, The Hobbit provides an intimate eating expertise that feels misplaced in an period of gastropubs and share plates. Nonetheless I can see how the expertise might attraction to the Orange County eating crowd. I imply, the place remains to be going robust after 46 years and frequently books up weeks upfront; in order that they should be doing one thing proper.

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