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A reinvention at Salt Creek

Old favorites and a new lineup add up to consistency

Posted: June 22, 2012 6:00 a.m.
Updated: June 22, 2012 6:00 a.m.

(Clockwise, from top) Cajun chicken penne pasta, mesquite grilled artichoke, oven-roasted half chicken, Santa Maria tri-tip.

Reinvention. It's what keeps people coming back to their favorite restaurant. The most successful are able to balance the introduction of fresh, new food concepts with a mix of comfortable, old favorites.

Salt Creek Grille seems to have mastered the formula, reinventing its menu seasonally and finding the right mix of new menu items to add to its lineup of American comfort food classics.

Greg Amsler, owner of Salt Creek Grille, said the latest menu shuffle is among the most extensive in years. The restaurant, on Town Center Drive in Valencia, opened in 1999 and recently celebrated its 13th anniversary.

"We wanted to concentrate on fewer menu items so that the kitchen can perfect each dish and deliver it to the customer with consistent quality," Amsler said.

I was happy to see that my favorites, the Grille pork chop, salmon en papillote, Alaskan Amber Beer battered fish and chips and the bacon wrapped filet mignon remain on the menu. I was sad to see the departure of the lasagna, which I think was among the best in town.

However, a tasting of the new menu items revealed several new favorites, the mesquite grilled artichoke and Santa Maria tri-tip, among others.

The changes: Santa Maria tri-tip ($19.95), mesquite grilled tri-tip with kielbasa sausage, fresh pico de gallo and poquito beans, garlic bread and honey mustard; oven-roasted half chicken ($18.95), olive oil herb-rubbed chicken, coleslaw and Salt Creek garlic fries; Cajun chicken penne pasta ($17.95), sauteed chicken breast, fresh spinach, tomatoes, corn and fresh basil over penne in a spicy Cajun sauce; and mesquite grilled artichoke ($12.95), served with hommade chips and roasted garlic balsamic aioli.

Add a few new Salt Creek signature sides (at $5 each), including sweet potato mashed, rice pilaf, roasted vegetables, roasted cauliflower and Parmesan creamed spinach.

Don't forget dessert. New on the dessert menu is a delightful carrot cake ($6.95) with cream cheese frosting with toasted spices and a hint of Cinnamon Goldschlager. The nuts are served on the side, none are in the cake, so if you have a nut allergy you can still enjoy carrot cake. Also new is the traditional New York-style cheesecake ($9.95) with a housemade gingersnap crust.

Salt Creek Grille, 24415 Town Center Drive, Valencia. 661-222-9999, www.saltcreekgrille/valencia.


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