Epicuryan: The Hobbit – 01/25/2018


2932 E. Chapman Ave
Orange, CA 92869
(714) 997-1972

Positioned in a re-purposed 3 story home, The Hobbit was based by Howard and Beverly Philippi who took over the house in 1972 and constructed one of many longest lived high-quality eating establishments in Orange County. As one may count on the title is a nod to Tolkien, because the founders have been enamored of the leisurely life-style of the fictional race and hoped to seize a little bit of their joie de vivre of their restaurant.

Right now their son Michael Philippi runs the restaurant and although the menu has developed considerably with the time, the format has remained largely unchanged. The restaurant provides a single 7-course menu that begins within the wine cellar earlier than diners transfer onto their very own tables the place they’re served seafood, a lightweight meat, and a salad. A brief intermission follows giving diners an opportunity to stretch their legs or hobnob with the chef earlier than returning for sorbet, the principle entrée, and dessert.

The night formally kicks off at 7:00PM with champagne and hors d’oeuvres within the wine cellar. This offers company the chance to casually peruse the 1,000+ bottle wine cellar and choose bottles for the meal all whereas having fun with the plethora of small bites and a glass bubbly. Personally my favorites have been the steak tartare and the puff pastry full of cheese, gruyere I believe, and a few type of cured meat. For individuals who may be overwhelmed by their selections, the sommelier, Amy Cody, and her crew are there to offer suggestions.

2012 Marcassin, Marcassin Winery, Sonoma Coast, Chardonnay
2004 Heitz, Martha’s Winery, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon
Along with having one of the one among Orange County’s best cellars, The Hobbit’s costs are among the many most cheap, with a lot of bottles at or under retail. We opted to select up a bottle of 2004 Heitz to go together with a 2012 Marcassin from my very own cellar. The Marcassin was elegant and nuanced, with honeysuckle, mushy white flowers, a great deal of citrus, stone fruit, and surprisingly little oak; a contemporary and ethereal classic that paired properly with the Salmon, salad, and Halibut. The Heitz could not have been extra completely different, with a deep nostril redolent of darkish fruit, earth, mint, and eucalyptus. The natural parts convey a component of stability that retains the wine from being too brooding.

Herb Roasted Salmon – Israeli Couscous, Blood Orange Beurre Blanc
I’ve by no means been an enormous fan of cooked salmon significantly when the fish is cooked via. Nonetheless the dense texture labored nicely with the buttery heft of the sauce. The Beurre Blanc was positively the spotlight of the dish concurrently offering buttery richness and a contrasting citrus twang.

Petite Veal Osso Bucco – Po Valley Black Rice, Veal Jus
The meal bought heavy in a rush with tender spherical of braised veal. The preparation incorporates a basic base of wealthy meaty jus with moderating parts of dense forbidden rice and a smattering of contemporary mirepoix greens that added each succulent highlights and a touch of bitterness. Sucking on the hole bone yields a small morsel of heady marrow to complete the dish.

Arugula & Endive Salad – Fuyu Persimmons, Candied Pecans, Crispy Prosciutto
I believed it was odd to serve salad after the osso bucco, however timing apart, the salad was fairly pleasurable. The bitterness of the greens is deftly saved in examine by the persimmons and candied pecans. The prosciutto is fried to an intense crisp that gives a potent salinity to decorate the remainder of the dish.

Following the salad, we took a 20 minute intermission. The company have been requested to retire to one of many upstairs rooms or the patio because the employees reset the tables for the entrée

Sorbet – Orange
Once we got here again to the desk, we have been offered with a dollop of sorbet constituted of contemporary oranges. The cool gentle citrus was a pleasant choose me up 2.5 hours into the meal.

Filet of Beef en Crôute
The essential entrée was paying homage to a Beef Wellington. Although I sometimes discover filet bland, I believed this reduce had sufficient meaty taste significantly when coupled with the mushrooms. The skinny ring of dough has a heady butteriness that compliments the easy richness of the meat. The roasted potatoes, carrots, and radishes have been basic accompaniments, but it surely was the just about jellied slab of squash or yam, loaded with maple sweetness, that accomplished the dish.

Recent Pacific Halibut – Child Bok Choy, New 12 months’s Black Eyed Peas, Ginger Sauce
The choice essential was a superbly cooked filet of halibut. Texturally all the pieces was spot on, however the taste was a bit flat and one dimensional because the ginger sauce was sadly muted. A splash of citrus or some spice may need labored higher..

Almond Cake – Housemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Recent Strawberry
The dessert was a reasonably dense almond cake. The flavour and texture was paying homage to a butter cake with a whiff of almond. With the addition of vanilla and tangy strawberry, the dessert is principally an additional daring strawberry brief cake.

The “modern continental” menu is probably a bit dated however the spot-on execution made the meal solidly pleasurable. At 4 hours for 7 programs, the pacing was a bit gradual for my liking although I am glad I lastly made it out to The Hobbit for a eating expertise from a bygone period.

With a single prix fixe menu, strict costume code, and prospers just like the wine cellar tour and intermission, The Hobbit provides an intimate eating expertise that feels misplaced in an period of gastropubs and share plates. Nonetheless I can see how the expertise might enchantment to the Orange County eating crowd. I imply, the place remains to be going robust after 46 years and often books up weeks prematurely; in order that they have to be doing one thing proper.



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