Decanter Wine Lounge & Restaurant
Cielo Hillside Village
18021 Calle Ambiente
Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067
The long awaited Decanter wine lounge & restaurant has finally opened its doors. Located in the newly developed Cielo Village in Rancho Santa Fe, Decanter has beautiful views of the Cielo hillside that make you instantly feel at peace. Owner/Sommelier Jason Knack has ten years experience in the fine dining scene as former manager of The Wine Lover in San Diego and Nine-ten in La Jolla. Jason, who is also a resident of Rancho Santa Fe knows what is missing in the north county dining scene.
I know that the restaurant is still working out the kinks of just opening three weeks ago but I cannot over look basic fundamentals in the kitchen. First is seasoning, every dish I had tasted as if there was no salt added at all. Just completely bland which I wouldn’t take so much offense to if there had been salt and pepper on the table. If you want to be one of those restaurants that doesn’t put salt and pepper on the table you better make sure that every dish is spot on. Second were the vegetables. On each dish that had them they were under seasoned and undercooked. They were so al dente it was as if they were blanched for a minute and then just tossed on the plate. Third, was how long it took for each course to come out and to be cleared. It was quite a while considering only three other tables were occupied. I don’t know if this was on the kitchen or servers but either way four courses should not take three hours.
Overall the experience was good. I enjoyed two great glasses of wine on the ever-growing wine list. Which will eventually offer over 200 wines by the glass, more than any other restaurant in the country. I briefly met Jason on the way out and he seems to be a very humble guy that is passionate about his restaurant. I feel once everyone gets in the groove, this is going to be exactly what north county has been missing, and I’m looking forward to it.
Red torpedo onion soup, manchego, micro chives
This tasted as bad as it looked. I don’t understand what the chef was going for here. It was completely flavorless. Tasted like onion stock.
Hand cut pappardelle, hedgehog mushrooms, salsify
Pasta slightly over cooked and a very crunchy piece of salisfy was hidden under the pasta. What was the point?
Loc Durc salmon, crosne, black trumpet mushrooms, marjoram
Best dish of the night. Everything was cooked and seasoned to perfection. This is what I expected all dishes to be like.
Duck confit, roasted parsnips, faro, blood orange sauce
Was boring visually and flavor wise. The duck was missing that crisp skin and under seasoned. Parsnips were way undercooked and under seasoned.
Braised spiced rubbed pot roast, garden vegetables, pan jus
The pot roast was very flavorful and tender. The sauce although tasty was too oily. Vegetables were the most poorly cooked on this dish, or should I say not cooked?
Bosc pear tart, chantilly cream
Why is the tart swimming? Was it to cover the dryness of the crust? Well, it didn’t work because I felt as if I was eating a bunch of dry crackers.