Thursday, May 15, 2014

Restaurant Review: The White House, Anaheim, CA

Anaheim White House - dinner on May 5, 2014
I was at our annual conference in Southern California last week and got to have dinner with a few coworkers on the first night. I love trying new restaurants when I travel, especially at places we don't have at home and places that are just a little different, not to mention serves good food. The Anaheim White House fit that bill to a T.
First of all, when you walk in, your first thought is "uh, this looks like someone's house, not a restaurant." The rooms are partitioned like a house and there's no one main dining room. Instead, there are rooms and alcoves set up with tables. The wallpaper, paintings hung on the walls and chandeliers overhead contribute to that this-is-a-home atmosphere. The White House was, in fact, once someone's home (read all about it on their website).
Contributing to the elegance factor are the napkins at each place setting folded to look like a tuxedo, complete with a little bow tie. Cute, eh?
Lobster Ravioli
For appetizers, we started off with the lobster ravioli and the calamari. You already know I don't eat calamari but I really liked the lobster ravioli. We only wanted a taste to prime our appetites and I'd had a late lunch so I wasn't even hungry(!) but I'd definitely recommend this to anyone going there.
The menu was pretty extensive and offered a variety of entrees from steaks to seafood to pastas. One WH special was their white chocolate mashed potatoes. One of my coworkers ordered it so I got to taste test a sample. I'm not a big fan of white chocolate so I wasn't crazy about it but I thought it was a little different and worth trying. My coworker liked it as a little sweet to go with the savory.
Salmon with White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes
Seabass in parchment
I myself got the prime rib - don't ask me why when I wasn't even hungry and even two bites of lobster ravioli filled me up. It was worth getting though just for the Roman Coliseum-like crispy cracker structure that came with it. I'm not aware of what significance this structure has or why it was dominating the plate but again, it was something a little different that was kind of fun.
Prime Rib
For dessert, The White House is known for its chocolate souffle which has to be preordered ahead of time because of the lead baking time. However, we had the misfortune to dine there on a day when their ovens weren't working. Ugh, what were the odds? According to our server, they had enough of the ovens working to do some of the desserts but not the souffle. Sniff.
Banana Chocolate Tart
Instead we went with the banana chocolate tart and a creme brulee. I thought the banana chocolate tart was good. The pastry was flaky and I always love the combination of caramelized bananas and chocolate filling. However, I'm deducting points for the spun sugar monstrosity that came perched on top. This one was a headscratcher for me. A) I don't like spun sugar. B) I didn't see the purpose of it being on top of the tart. It added no flavor nor was it aesthetically pleasing, at least not to me. If you're going to do sugar work on a dessert that you want people to eat, I'd suggest something more caramelized and a lot less top heavy.
Creme Brulee
Overall, I thought The White House was a good dining experience. Our server was very nice and attentive so service was good. The food was delicious, although I would probably have appreciated it more if I'd actually been hungry when I got there but that's my issue. I didn't pick up the tab so I can't quite comment on the prices but it's in the mid to high range, depending on what you order. I'm still disappointed on missing out on the chocolate souffle but I'll live. And make my own.

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