Early Valentine’s Day dinner treat with my brother, and what a coincidence that Side Door just happened to be on my blog list. Located in the same building as Five Crowns in Corona del Mar, it has the same cozy atmosphere. Side Door has a lighter pub-style menu and a nice selection of wines and craft beers. They do not take reservations, but our wait was only about 15 minutes – not bad for a Friday night. I had a glass of their house chardonnay, which was a lovely Bernier (Loir).
The service was attentive, and our waiter gave helpful suggestions as what we should order for our first visit. We started with the Side Door Cheese/Charcuterie Sampler consisting of Ribiola Tres Leches, Invierno, and Tomme pur Chevre paired with Prosciutto La Quercia, and Napoli apple-smoked salame – accompanied by walnuts, honey and blackberry coulis. Sounds pretty ritzy, doesn’t it? It was certainly all very delicious, and that board was emptied in short order.
Second course was a shared Reuben with pastrami, gruyere and thousand island on grilled rye. The pastrami was very tender and flavorful, cut in quarters – not very large and a little light on the dressing. The Winter Mushroom Soup was served with a float of parsley oil that lent a distinctive flavor to the subtlety of the soup. Oh that last sentence sounds so pretentious.
Dessert was a real winner and one of the house specialties – Whisky Bread Pudding with raisins and whipped cream.
One other thing – although parts were disappointing, this overal dining experience was pleasant. I would like to come back again – maybe for lunch when not so crowded. Good service and a friendly atmosphere can cetainly compensate for flaws in other areas. Some places are simply worth another try.