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New at Salt Creek Grille

Lower prices and new spring menu items

Posted: March 6, 2009 3:51 p.m.
Updated: March 6, 2009 2:28 p.m.

Salt Creek Combo Sliders are mesquite grilled mini-burgers with three different - and big - tastes.

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Steak lovers rejoice! Salt Creek Grille, always known for its "prime" beef, has added an "all-natural" New York Strip steak to the menu.

This 16 oz. 21-day dry-aged steak is topped with garlic butter and served with a baked potato and fresh vegetables. The $34.95 price tag may seem steep, but this is the best steak you will ever eat. This is "organic" beef, raised without steroids, antibiotics or hormones.

Greg Amsler, owner of Salt Creek Grille on Town Center Drive in Valencia, said the beef is raised on all vegetarian feed with no herbicides or pesticides.

"We can't legally call it organic beef because that is a term reserved for plants, but it is all natural beef," Amsler said.

The Salt Creek Grille menu, revamped in fall and spring, recently unveiled new menu items and an altered pricing structure to reflect the current economic climate.

"We have lowered prices on 90 percent of our menu items to help people out so they can still enjoy an evening out. We want people to be able to come back and visit us," Amsler said.

Amsler said he has worked with his suppliers to be able to reduce prices without sacrificing quality. "If we do it, we're going to do it well," he said.

Tamra Levine, who heads up Salt Creek Catering, and Salt Creek Executive Chef Ignacio Munoz have teamed up to offer several innovative and tasty new entrees.

My father was a cattle rancher, so I love a good piece of steak. Salt Creek consistently delivers excellent beef. I love the ground Angus Salt Creek uses for its mesquite-grilled burgers.

Despite my love of red meat, I'm also fond of properly cooked chicken. Among my favorite chicken dishes is Chicken Dijon. An "old school" restaurant staple, the Creek's Chicken Dijon ($16.95) is not only affordable but brings a refreshing depth of citrus flavor to the familiar Dijon mustard sauce.

The chicken is fresh, tender and juicy, sautéed with white onions, white wine and chicken stock as well as the citrus zest in the Dijon. The Creek serves this dish with a four-cheese polenta and fresh asparagus. I would order this entrée again just for the polenta, which is exceptional.

I also love a restaurant that knows how to cook veggies. Salt Creek excels in this area with the asparagus and carrot mix cooked to perfection. Not mushy or too crunchy.

Also new on the menu is the Spicy Thai Shrimp pasta. Signal senior staff writer Michelle Sathe reports that the dish is a very satisfying entrée at $19.95. A generous portion of plump, perfectly grilled shrimp shares the plate with al dente linguine, sautéed Shitake mushrooms and green onions.

An intoxicating aroma wafts from the delicately nuanced sauce, a blend of traditional Thai flavors that builds to a spicy finale. It's rich, savory, exotic, and completely delicious.

Also among the new menu items:

Cedar Plank Mahi Mahi ($23.95): This is drama on a plate. A round plank of cedar topped with mild mahi mahi is oven roasted (you can smell the cedar waft through the restaurant when several are fired up together in the Salt Creek oven) and served with a spicy kiwi and mango salsa, steamed rice and fresh vegetables (Kentucky pole beans with shallots and mushrooms the day I visited).

Rice is another of my favorite foods and Salt Creek does a nice turn with the rice. It is cooked with citrus zest, parsley and the right amount of seasoning.

Gorgonzola Crusted Top Sirloin is a 10 oz. steak topped with a gorgonzola crust and served with bacon and potato au gratin ($25.95).

On the salad front the Creek's new Southwestern Grilled Chicken Salad ($13.95) is a huge salad taste explosion with romaine lettuce, black beans, tomatoes, tortilla strips, jicama, roasted sunflower seeds, cotija cheese and Southwestern dressing. I'll be honest... whenever I see the word "Southwestern" it translates into my mind as "too spicy."

But this salad walks the line perfectly as it offers up bold flavor without the "burn" of too much spice. The best part is that there is enough salad to take home for leftovers, too.

The starters at Salt Creek Grille have often been among my favorite menu items. You can't find better appetizers anywhere in the SCV. The Ahi Tuna Stack is a thing of beauty, the coconut jumbo shrimp are amazing and the artichoke and parmesan spinach dip is to die for.

Among the best starters ever offered at the Creek are the Salt Creek sliders - mesquite grilled mini burgers topped with Gorgonzola cheese and grilled onions. Melt in your mouth perfection on a bun.

Salt Creek has now done these delightful burgers one better, they have been transformed into the Salt Creek Combo Sliders served with homemade potato chips ($11.95).

Three baby burgers: one Gorgonzola, one with mushroom and Swiss and one with bacon and cheddar. You can mix and match, too.
If you dislike change you can order three sliders topped with the familiar Gorgonzola and onions, or if you dislike gorgonzola (perish the thought!) you can have two mushroom and Swiss and one bacon and cheddar. Your wish is Salt Creek's command.

My favorite dessert, the best dessert in the Santa Clarita Valley, the delightfully decadent Chocolate Ganache Soufflé ($11.95) is still on the menu.

Don't forget to order the soufflé before you order your meal as this dessert takes time to prepare.

Salt Creek also hosts a daily happy hour, 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Chef's Dinners are an all-inclusive dinner option offered Mondays through Thursdays, which include your choice of soup or salad, the featured daily entree and a chocolate torte for dessert - a satisfying, gourmet meal for $19.95.

Salt Creek Grille, 24415 Town Center Drive, Valencia. (661) 222-999, Open 11:30 a.m. daily.


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