27321 La Paz Rd.
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Settling down for a casual night watching TV, we got a call that Katie's mom, Lynn had been in a fender bender. We were assured she was okay, and was being taken to Cedar Creek to have dinner, (and some wine), to calm her nerves. So that is where we headed to have dinner and make sure everything was okay with her.
Cedar Creek has three locations in Orange county, (the other two are in San Juan and Brea). This Cedar Creek always seems to be misplaced to me. It is perched right next to a McDonalds, and is shadowed by a Home Depot. The place has been busy the two to three times I have been here though. The vibe inside is of a nice, relaxed, semi-formal restaurant. Let's see how the food measures up.
First up was the bread that they give you. I really enjoyed this garlic and butter bread. It had a great texture and flavor. They kept the bread basket full all through the dinner also, a lot of places forget about it as soon as the salads arrive.
The two appetizers we decided to start off with were the Deep Fried Artichoke Hearts, and the Deep Fried Sesame Calamari. Yes, since we did not get to go to the fair, we decided to indulge in two deep fried apps, (we have to justify it somehow). The artichokes were not very good at all, and were ignored even by the artichoke lovers at our table. They had a strange taste to them that kind of tasted like you would expect Lemon Pledge to taste like. They were made a little better when dipped into the dill sauce, but not much better. The calamari was good, and did get finished. The jalapeno tarter sauce that was served with this was very good. The calamari itself was not too greasy, and had a nice mellow flavor.
The Caesar salad above came with my meal. I liked this salad well enough, it seemed pretty fresh. There was just enough dressing on it, and the croutons were good as well. The other salad was Lynn's, she got the Niguel's Salad. This salad consisted of the following, mixed greens, apples, dried cranberries, candied walnuts, bleu cheese, and topped with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. It has been my experience that all woman love this salad, and this was definitely the case here also. I like it, but I have a thing with fruits in salads, it just kind of puts me off.
Jimmy feasted on the Traditional Burger. This burger came with all of the normal accompaniments. Jimmy thought that this burger was well done and tasty. He liked the juiciness of the meat also. The fries did look good.
Rachel, the birthday girl, nibbled her way trough the French Dip Sandwich. This sandwich looked pretty good, but again, like Jimmy she did not rave about the sandwich. It looks good enough in the picture, that this would probably be my choice on a return visit.
Above is the Crab and Salmon Cakes. These were served with vegetable chips, and asian slaw. This dish was mediocre at best. The crab/salmon cake was very heavy on the breading, and you could not taste either the crab or salmon. The asian slaw was okay, along with the vegetable chips. Again, the jalapeno tarter sauce helped this dish out, but not enough to make it good.
Sara opted to get the before mentioned Niguel Salad, with Chicken. She loved this salad and said she would be happy getting this again and again. I had an issue with the price on this salad, $14. I thought it would have been bigger.
For my entree I went with the Pot Roast. This was served with pickled cabbage, potato pancakes and applesauce. I could not have been more disappointed in this dish. The meat was not tender at all. The flavor was only helped with the addition of the horseradish/gorgonzola sauce. The potato pancakes were plain tasting, and the applesauce had a weird lavender taste to it. The pickled cabbage seemed out of place on this dish also. Summing up this plate, I would call it awkward.
Cedar Creek has been hit and miss with me. I remember having something here awhile back that I liked, but could not remember what it was. I don't feel that you get good value for your money here. The food is un-memorable, but the service was good. Maybe the reason that they are always busy is that there is not a nice restaurant around the area. I know I will be back, because Katie's family really likes the place, so hopefully I will find something on the menu that blows me away. On this trip we were just all glad that Lynn was okay from her accident, even if it wasn't the food that soothed her, the wine might have been what the doctor ordered.
Out of five pencils, (because the favored timber in making pencils is cedar), five being best to zero being worst, Cedar Creek gets 2 pencils.
For more information on Cedar Creek, check them out here: http://www.cedarcreekinn.com/