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All Corked Up, more than a wine bar

Expands to add a full service restaurant menu

Posted: February 19, 2009 2:33 p.m.
Updated: February 20, 2009 6:00 a.m.

The fruit and cheese plate appetizer at All Corked Up ($13) includes a large plate of selected cheeses and assorted dried fruit - including apricots, cranberries, candied walnuts and grapes.

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All Corked Up may be located off the beaten path, tucked in a corner of Centre Pointe off Diamond Place and around the bend from where All Corked Up's monument sign beckons customers.

What started as an upscale wine bar in December of 2004 has evolved into a wine bar/entertainment venue/restaurant.

In addition to such typical wine bar fare as elaborate fruit and cheese ($13) and antipasto ($13) plates, All Corked Up has expanded offerings to include full dinner entrees.

Among the nightly dinner specials:
Pork Chops - Two French cut pork chops baked and topped with a sherry wine sauce, served with garlic mashed potatoes and a mixed vegetable blend. This entrée is cooked to perfection and at only $14.95 is a bargin to boot.

I love pork chops and it is rare to find a restaurant that prepares them properly. All Corked Up is the exception to the rule. The garlic mashed potatoes are a divine treat, soft, rich and speckled with bacon bits. The vegetables were cooked perfectly, crunchy and al dente, not the usual mush you find at restaurants that just don't care.

Other nightly offerings include:
Four cheese pizza ($8) - a six-inch crust filled with smoked mozzarella, mozzarella, goat and par amigo cheeses, basil and sundried tomatoes; chicken encroute ($15.95) - a tender breast of chicken stuffed with celery and herb stuffing, wrapped in delicate puff pastry and topped with a rich supreme sauce; New York strip steak ($15.95) - pan seared with a blackberry cabernet reduction suace and served with garlic mashed potatoes and mixed vegetable sauté.

Weekend dinner specials include:
French onion crostini ($8) - caramelized onions topped with gruyere cheese; chicken mojito ($14.95) - chicken breast served on a bed of basmati rice topped with a parmesan cheese sauce and roasted asparagus; sea bass ($15.95) - fillet of sea bass with herb breading and topped with a white wine sauce, served with garlic mashed potatoes and mixed veggies (this dish is a home run, delicate sea bass cooked to perfection with a spectacular sauce); New York steak and King crab legs ($22.95) - just as delightful as it sounds; one pound of King crab legs ($24.95); risotto ($8 or $10 with mushrooms and $13 with shrimp) - the traditional Italian dish made with Arborio rice.

Desserts are also special at All Corked Up. The rustic apple galette ($9) is a five-inch round buttery, flaky French pastry layered with ripe apples, baked then drizzled with caramel sauce and topped with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. The choco'late lovin' spoon cake ($8) is a mouthful of chocolate pudding between two layers of dark, moist chocolate-drenched chocolate cake. The chocolate truffle cake ($7) is three layers of moist chocolate cake with truffle filling iced with decadent truffle fudge. I love crème brulee and All Corked Up's New York-style crème brulee cheesecake ($7) is everything I love about crème brulee in a velvety cheesecake.

In addition, the hot selections menu offers a grilled chicken Panini ( $10); steak fettuccini ($14); chicken ravioli ($13); shrimp penne rigate ($12); bacon wrapped shrimp ($12); meatballs with mushroom brandy sauce ($9); barbeque chicken quesadilla ($10) and hot spinach and artichoke dip ($9).

Cold selections include a Caprese salad ($11); Asian chicken salad ($11); chopped salad ($9 or $12 with chicken); blue cheese blazed pear ($8) and a shrimp cocktail ($9).

A specialty of the house is the rosemary cashew appetizer ($10) based on the nuts served at the Union Square Café in Manhattan, served with brie, dried fruit and water crackers. Another must-try appetizer is the tuna tartare ($13).

Add to all this fabulous food a glass of fine wine and some music on the weekends and you can see why this intimate wine bar is now something more than the sum of its parts.

"Everything here is based on value, selection and education," said owner David Schutz. "There is much doom and gloom out there now. This is a place where people can come and feel good."

Schutz said another advantage of dining at All Corked Up is that customers can choose from any of the hundreds of wines on display at the store to enjoy with their meal and save money. All Corked Up wine club members also pay no corkage fee.

"Where else can you order a bottle of wine off the shelf and save anywhere from 50 to 100 percent off regular restaurant wine prices," he said.

Schutz said All Corked Up has a variety of wine education offerings including wine tasting Wednesdays and cooking classes and wine education classes offered on selected Saturdays during the month.

"People don't want to feel embarrassed when they buy wine," Schutz said.
A special wine class, with wine specialist Philippe Halleux, will be offered Sundays beginning on March 1.
"When you're finished with this course you can be a sommelier," said Schutz.

All Corked Up, 26340 Diamond Place, Santa Clarita, CA 91350; (661) 799-7979, www.allcorkedup.com.

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