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Otto is SCV’s ‘Top Chef’

Chef Daniel Otto brings taste and presentation to accessible high concept food at TPC’s Oaks Grille

Posted: February 10, 2012 6:00 a.m.
Updated: February 10, 2012 6:00 a.m.

Executive Chef Daniel Otto of the Tournament Players Club Valencia Oaks Grille has won the SCV “Top Chef” competition for two consecutive years, hosted by Soroptimist International of Greater SCV in conjunction with the annual Wine Affair fundraiser.

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Usually if a restaurant has a spectacular view, the food rarely lives up to the surroundings. However, The Oaks Grille at Tournament Players Club in Valencia is the exception to the rule.

The food at the Oaks Grille is exceptional, thanks to Executive Chef Daniel Otto, the two-time winner of the Santa Clarita Valley "Top Chef" competition held by Soroptimist International of Greater SCV in conjunction with their annual Wine Affair fundraiser.

Otto offers guests of The Oaks Grille gourmet food that excels in taste and presentation.

The setting, an old-California ranch-style clubhouse with elegant interiors featuring chandeliers, vaulted ceilings and breathtaking vistas overlooking the SCV and the 18th green of TPC's championship golf course, seems almost secondary to the accessible high concept food.

Among my favorites on the menu are the Kobe Beef Meatballs ($12) starters. These are practically a meal in themselves. These hand-formed Kobe Beef meatballs rest on a tomato vermouth sauce and are topped with grilled ciabatta spears and feta creme fraiche.

The salads at the Oaks Grille are anything but ordinary. Try the Beets and Burrata ($12) salad (see photo on page 2) made with slow roasted beets, Burrata cheese, orange supremes and splashed with extra virgin olive oil, fig vincotto vinegar and garnished with dried figs and fresh basil.

Another of my favorite things is the Iceberg Wedge. With the emphasis on more is more, this Wedge almost seems more like a Cobb salad (minus the hard-boiled egg) than Wedge. This perfect salad offers up a bounty of crumbled blue cheese, chopped tomatoes, chopped bacon, red onions and chopped cucumbers. It is served with buttermilk ranch dressing. ($11).

There are burgers and sandwiches, steaks and seafood - entrees for every palate and the pickiest of eaters. If you don't see it on the menu, ask. The chef may be able to whip something up that fits your dietary guidelines. My favorite entree is the Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli, ($18).

This dish is rich, sumptuous and decadent. The butternut squash ravioli is tossed in a creamy buerre blanc sauce with sauted spinach, cauliflower and broccoli and topped with a smoked artichoke and fried sage. Add chicken for an additional $3.

Don't forget dessert. These desserts are worth the calories. Cakes, tarts, mousses and more, there's something for everyone.

The Oaks Grille at Tournament Players Club Valencia, 26550 Heritage View Lane, Valencia, CA 91381. (661) 288-1995, www.tpc.valencia.com (select Dine tab). Hours: Closed Mondays. Tuesdays 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Wednesdays and Thursdays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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