DEL FRISCO'S GRILLE
MODERN, AMERICAN EATERY SPREADS ITS WINGS
Good comfort food is always appreciated and the folks at Del Frisco's Grille, part of a collection of more than 40 restaurants across the country, including Del Frisco's Grille, Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House, and Sullivan's Steakhouse, prides itself on serving bold and delicious cuisine. During recent visits to the Pasadena and Irvine locations, they proved more hit and miss than surefire.
Ideal for working lunches, large parties or even a cozy meal, Del Frisco’s Grille, which also includes a Santa Monica location, offer spacious dining rooms and cozy outdoor patios. Its menu features local ingredients and bold flavors alongside classic dishes. Portions tend to be big so think of its dishes as shareable, ranging from Wood Oven-Baked Flatbreads, Cheesesteak Egg Rolls, and Ahi Tacos, and don’t forget the prime steaks, as well as dishes with Southern California influence such as Grilled Artichoke, West Coast Fish Tacos and Steamed Brown Bag Fish. Their decadent brunch includes Red Velvet Belgian Waffle, along with the signature Grille Benedict and carafes of mimosas and sangria.
According to Mark S. Mednansky, CEO of Del Frisco's Restaurant Group, "Pasadena is a beautiful city with an amazing history and an expanded dining scene, and we're excited to welcome guests with our genuine hospitality. Our distinct location, local flavors and communal tables and bar provide the perfect ambiance for friends, locals and visitors to gather and enjoy all that the Grille has to offer."
Likewise General Manager Katie Pavkov of the Irvine location is excited to welcome diners for a hearty brunch or dinner or just for a round of decadent desserts. “Guests are welcome to come in for a full meal or nothing more than dessert. And our desserts are rather amazing, too, from our Coconut Cream Pie and six-layer Lemon Doberge Cake to Nutella Bread Pudding with caramel sauce, and Warm Chocolate Cake served with vanilla bean ice cream and raspberry sauce. They’re exceptionally decadent, which is how dessert should be.”
During a recent visit to the Irvine Grille for Sunday brunch, served until 3pm, we feasted on a bevy of breakfast bonanzas, including Red Velvet Belgian Waffles with whipped vanilla bean-spiked cream cheese and thick-cut hickory smoked bacon, and The Grille Benedict with poached eggs, thinly-sliced French ham, and scallion and white cheddar biscuits topped with chipotle hollandaise sauce. The Crabcake Benedict is another satisfying favorite.
A real brunch treat is the tableside Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary where you get to build your own drink to your liking. Nice touch! And don’t forget the outrageous Nutella Bread Pudding served with coffee ice cream and caramel sauce, which really sends any meal into overdrive.
During dinner at a packed Pasadena Grille, I found many of the items we ordered underwhelming. The Cheesesteak Eggrolls were just eh. That sad uninspired description equally matches the dish. The Jumbo Lump Crabcake served with Cajun lobster sauce was adequate, but the Chopped Caesar Salad really missed the mark. And that is coming from a Caesar snob so I tend to be a pretty harsh critic when it comes to my favorite salad.
The Ahi Tuna Steak with its sesame-chive crust, chilled noodle salad, peanuts, and Ponzu sauce was bland and too busy and not what I expected. Likewise, the Rib Eye, which we ordered medium, was too cooked, making me think I should start ordering my steaks medium rare. I also didn’t like the texture and found it too charred for my liking. I couldn’t really get into it so I ordered a Cubano sandwich, which was hearty and tasty and offered that familiar taste I like so well. Be aware of the Truffled Mac & Cheese, which is really rich but a great sharable dish, especially if no one is counting calories.
Looking over the cocktail menu, I couldn’t find a drink to my liking as they all just seemed too sickeningly sweet; however, the Adult Milkshake with Nocello walnut liqueur, crème de cacao, chocolate liqueur, vanilla ice cream, did seem like the perfect liquid dessert. I always say I don’t like sweet drinks but I do love boozy desserts, and I do expect them to be sweet, and this one was really satisfying.
While the Del Frisco's Grille locations are casual, they still offer an upscale atmosphere, which is all the more impressive when you realize that these are more laidback than the other high end, white tablecloth establishments among the group’s restaurants. I was sold on brunch (Irvine really delivered) but dinner…there are just too many choices for a ho-hum meal. But its menu is very extensive that there is something for just about everyone.
Del Frisco's Grille Pasadena is located at 55 South Lake Ave in the South Lake District of Pasadena. Del Frisco’s Grille Irvine at Irvine Spectrum Center where Sunday brunch is served from 11am-3pm is located adjacent to Nordstrom.
Story by Jose Martinez