enoSTEAK

264221_extractedDelicious dishes, an extensive – and impressive – wine selection and impeccable service defines this signature restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

The menu at this intimate, contemporary steakhouse highlights “sustainability-focused cuisine” – each grilled-to-perfection, mouthwatering steak comes from prime grass-fed, pasture-raised beef with no growth hormones or antibiotics. The organic produce used to create the inventive salads (think asparagus Ibérico salad with a poached egg and caviar crème fraîche) and side dishes (including the sauteed wild mushrooms and petite peas) is grown locally and harvested at the peak of the season, allowing for maximum flavor.

Everything is sourced from farms within 150 miles from the resort. The majority of the herbs are gathered from the resort’s organic garden.

Every meal starts with a complimentary pâté – on this night it was a chicken liver pâté accompanied by a multigrain ciabatta bread. Personally, I’ve never been a big fan of pâté, but apparently enoSTEAK serves this acquired taste with aplomb because the aficionados at the next table raved about the taste and texture. Having said that, I loved the presentation – the pâté arrived on a custom “conversation piece” crafted from recycled wine bottles created by Elizabeth Gurklys, a Southern California glass artist.

RCLAGUN_00448For starters, enoSTEAK showcases artisanal cheeses and charcuterie – a curated selected of cured meats that are perfectly paired with a glass of a classic California vintage. Did I mention the extensive wine selection? This is clearly a restaurant that caters to the wine connoisseur – there are over 40 varieties on the dinner menu, but the master list boasts nearly 200 wines to choose from – the impressive decorative glass “wine tower” that serves as the centerpiece of the dining room holds approximately 300 bottles.

RCLAGUN_00443Chicken and seafood options are on the menu – the chicken is Jidori™, which means “chicken of the earth” and all of the fish is sustainable and either farm raised or pole/troll caught. But make no mistake: the steak here is king. Each handcrafted cut, including the Grilled Prime Bone-in New York Steak, the Grilled Prime Rib Eye Stek and the Grass-Fed Beef Tenderloin is from Niman Ranch, a farm that is committed to raising the highest quality breeds and is dedicated to caring for its livestock traditionally.

RCLAGUN_00441Accompanying the handcrafted meats and seafood are a selection of five signature compound butters including black summer truffle, roasted heirloom tomato, garden herb and garlic, 30i enoSTEAK butter and tarragon béarnaise sauce.

As delicious as the dishes are and as warm and inviting as the ambiance is, great service makes the dining experience here all the more memorable – each member of the team, from the hostess to the waitstaff, was extremely personable, attentive, knowledgeable and unobtrusive.

enoSTEAK is located at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, located at 1 Ritz Carlton Drive in Dana Point. For information or reservations, please call (949) 240-2000.

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