Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mr. Stox Restaurant - restaurant review

Our first dining experience at Mr. Stox Restaurant was around this time last year. We'd been meaning to go back but just hadn't gotten around to it, but for a special occasion, we made a return trip to the restaurant on Saturday night.

We checked in for our reservation and were promptly taken to our table. Our server came by to introduce herself, give us menus and to take our drink order.

There were a few things on the appetizer menu that sounded really good, but I remembered how good the "lobster latte" (aka lobster bisque) was from last time, so I had to have it again. The husband started with the same thing. For an entree, I chose the venison while the husband chose the veal tenderloin special.

We also each ordered a martini. They bring the glass and the full shaker to the table and serve the martini at the table. That was cool.

The bread basket was brought out, and one of the bread choices was red, which I had some of, but I never got around to asking what kind of bread it was.

The lobster latte was brought out, and the first thing I did was smell it. Mmmmm, it had the same wonderful aroma that I remembered from last time. And it tasted just as good. It's hard to really describe the bisque without making it sound weird, so I'm just going to go ahead and sound weird. The bisque is so good because you can almost taste the lobster shell and sea in it. I like lobster but I'm not a crazy fan - I actually prefer crab generally rather than lobster. I've had lobster bisque before, and I like it, but it's usually fairly light on the lobster flavor - it usually tastes much more refined. I actually like the taste of seafood, and I prefer crab and clams to be steamed rather than cooked in any kind of overpowering sauce because then I can't taste the seafood. I decline butter when it comes to snow crab or lobster because again, it masks the flavor. But with this lobster bisque, you really get the flavor of the lobster itself. It's very robust, not just a faint lobster flavoring. And there are plenty of lobster bits in the bisque itself to add even more flavor.

Lobster latte - "warm and silky lobster bisque topped with glazed cream".

Next up were our entrees. The husband had the special, which was veal tenderloin on black truffle risotto with chanterelle mushrooms. He loved it. I had decided on the venison (cooked medium rare) with broccoli rabe and purple mashed potatoes. The venison was delicious - it was hard for me to pass up having it because not many places serve venison. The broccoli was nicely cooked, still flavorful and slightly crunchy. I really appreciate perfectly cooked vegetables because so often, vegetables tend to be so overcooked so that there's no flavor or texture left in them. Maybe more people would like vegetables if they had them properly cooked. The purple mashed potatoes were fun to look at and they were tasty too, a bit firmer than normal mashed potatoes, which I liked.

Venison with purple mashed potatoes and broccoli rabe.

For dessert, the restaurant offers a complimentary Baked Alaska for those celebrating an anniversary (the dessert is not otherwise available on the regular dessert menu), and since the husband had indicated what we were celebrating when he made the reservation, the restaurant was already aware when we arrived.

Baked Alaska.

I'd never had Baked Alaska before. I liked the meringue on the outside and the chocolate ice cream inside. I couldn't really tell what the base of the dessert consisted of, but it was firm. The dessert was sweeter than I had anticipated, especially with the fruity sauce surrounding the dessert. I think the dessert would have been really good paired with coffee or tea, to cut the sweetness. Unfortunately, I had ordered a chocolate martini to go with dessert, so it ended up being sweeter than I normally prefer with the two combined. (The chocolate martini was different than I'd had in other places. There were swirls of white chocolate at the bottom and sides of the glass, and then milk chocolate around the rim, as well as a rolled-up bit of milk chocolate inside the glass. The contents, which were clear, were then poured in - I'm used to the contents being kind of muddied with chocolate. It was much more alcoholic than I'd had before, but it was still a nice martini.)

They had earlier brought a mylar balloon to put on our table (I noticed several "happy birthday" balloons on other tables, so I expect those were provided by the restaurant as well.), and at the end of the meal, they also took our picture and then came back with a paper picture frame with the picture in it. That was a nice touch.

The outside of the picture frame.

The inside front of the picture frame.

At the front desk and on the table, there's a copy of the restaurant's quarterly newsletter, so the husband and I had been reading parts of it during the course of dinner. They have a lot of special dinners and events/outings through the restaurant. They also have a special Thanksgiving meal, and one of the choices for dessert was mincemeat pie. I've heard of mincemeat, both in the context of the pie and in the expression "I'll make mincemeat out of you", but I've never known what mincemeat was. I never assumed that it was something that necessarily involved meat - I mean, I know what sweetbreads are, and I even really like sweetbreads, but if anyone is expecting actual bread when they order it, they're in for a bad surprise.

After we'd finished our dessert, our server came back to check on us to see if we needed anything else. So, I asked her what mincemeat was, since it was in the pie. She didn't seem particularly enamoured of it. I asked her if it really did contain meat, and she said that the version served by the restaurant did, though some do serve mincemeat that has no actual meat in it. She said that they used filet of beef in their mincemeat. I said that I had heard that mincemeat was highly spiced - not necessarily spicy as far as hot like Tabasco sauce, but rather, just containing a lot of pungent spices. She agreed. She then stopped another passing server to better explain mincemeat to us. The second server also expressed an extreme dislike for mincemeat, though neither of them had actually had any, but they weren't interested based on the description. The second server asked if we liked fruitcake, and we said no, so she said we wouldn't like mincemeat either, as it was bits of meat combined with things like candied fruit. A manager who was walking by also ended up taking part in the conversation. She also had never actually had mincemeat but also didn't think it sounded particularly appetizing.

The assistant server/runner that had also been helping us during our meal walked by at one point, and since we'd chatted with him a bit earlier, I also asked him if he had ever tried mincemeat. He said no, and that it also didn't sound appealing to him. We were then amused when he returned a few minutes later, with a small gravy boat on a plate, with some mincemeat inside for us to try. He had gone to the kitchen to ask about the mincemeat, and since they had some already, he brought some out to us.

I couldn't so much *taste* the meat per se, but you could definitely tell from the texture that it was little cubes of beef. And yes, it was very sweet from the fruit, and while I couldn't necessarily identify the spices, there was a very robust flavor overall. The manager and our server and the other server all came by, and I tried to convince them to try it as well, but none of them would. I didn't think it was horrible, and it probably wasn't quite as weird because it was just in the gravy boat. It would have been a lot weirder having a whole slice of pie with that as the contents.

I'm glad I was able to try it, though, as I can now say that I know what mincemeat is. And we ended up having a good time talking to the various staff members about it.

We had a lovely dinner with wonderful food and friendly and helpful staff. They were diligent about checking with us to see if we needed refills or anything else, but they were never obtrusive. I also like that there's a live pianist providing music - you don't often see that in restaurants anymore. The restaurant is very elegant, and the service is impeccable, and most people are dressed appropriately so, but from our last visit, we had been told that they do have many people who come to the restaurant in casual attire, which they expect given the restaurant's proximity to the Disneyland Resort and Angels Stadium. We were told that during baseball season, it's not uncommon to see many people at the restaurant dressed in Angels gear having dinner before or after the game.

The lobby area was nicely decorated for the fall season with many pumpkins, including several fairly large ones. We were told last year that they go all out with decorations for Christmas, and they have carolers as well. The manager we spoke to mentioned that the Christmas decorations go up right after Thanksgiving and confirmed that they still have carolers, so we're hoping to make a return visit during the holidays this year.

The restaurant offers valet parking for a fee.

Mr. Stox Restaurant
1105 East Katella Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92805
(714) 634-2994