Sunday, February 27, 2011

Shooting An Eagle at O'Neill"s?

O'Neill's Bar and Grill
26772 Avery Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92692

Katie's Dad loves golf. Some people in his own family might even say that he loves golf more than them. Okay, maybe that is a slight exaggeration, but his eyes get a little extra twinkle in them when he talks about golf. All the problems of the world go out the window when he is reminiscing about a day out on the links. So it came as no surprise to me that one of his favorite restaurants just happens to be at a country club where he has played golf numerous times. And that place is O'Neill's

O'Neill's is located at the Arroyo Trabbuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, at the end of Avery Parkway. The course opened in 2004, was designed by PGA pro, Tom Lehman. The public course is a favorite among south county residents. But, we are here for the food.

O'Neill's has a new chef that has completely over hauled the entire menu. Chef Jeff Platt honed his craft at Roy's, Tabu Grill and the Napa Rose. Platt's goal at O'Neill's is to serve high quality food, with great presentation, while  still maintaining the ranch feel of the club. Let's see if he gets to his goal.

To start our meal we had the Kung Pao Calamari. This calamari was served with peanuts, cilantro and carrots with a kung pao sauce. The calamari was cooked perfectly. I liked the long strips instead of the rings. The breading was good as well. I thought that the kung pao sauce could have had more of a kick though.

For months before we came here, Katie's Dad has told me I have to try the Chaparral Chili. Not wanting to disappoint the big guy, I complied with his wishes. This chili is served with white aged cheddar and red onion. Not quite the chili I was expecting, it was still solid. It was not a spicy chili, but had a sweet almost cinnamon taste to it. I would equate it to a Cincinnati chili, but not quite. Very rich flavor, I would say this was a must have.

Now on to the main dishes. Katie's Mom opted for the Double Breasted Chicken. This chicken was stuffed with fennel and cremini mushrooms. Lynn and I both agreed that this chicken was a little on the dry side. I also did not find this big on flavor. The sauce that was on this chicken was good though, I just wish there was more of it.

Katie surprised me with her pick for the night, when she got the Saffron Paella. This dish featured scallops, shrimp, sausage, crab, corn, Flageolet beans, and leeks. Pretty much everything in the kitchen. Katie liked this dish, and liked this interpretation of paella. Scallops were cooked perfectly, but the beans were under cooked according to Katie. 

Katie's Dad, Dennis went with the Prime Burger here. This upscale looking burger came with bacon, avocado, Swiss cheese, (he subbed out the pepper jack that usually comes with this), and red onion on a brioche bun. The burger looked great, and got rave reviews from Dennis. I did sneak an onion ring, and they were heavily breaded, but very good.

The last main dish of the evening was my choice, the 7 Oz. Flat Iron Steak Meyer Ranch Natural Prime. This steak was very tender, and had a great robust flavor to it. The Bearnaise sauce that came with this complimented the meat nicely. As much as I loved the meat, the opposite was true of the blue cheese macaroni side item I got with this. I thought with all of the big flavors in this it would be great, but it fell flat. I would not get this again.

Here were the two desserts that we got to share. These were just okay. The chocolate cake with ice cream was the best one out of the two. The raspberry sorbet tart got good reviews from Katie and her Mom, but is not the sort of dessert that I enjoy.

The vibe at O'Neill's is a comfortable one. Not too country clubish. They did reach their goal of making their small restaurant have the feel of an upscale ranch. On the downside, I think that their menu is too limited. I would like a few more side items, but you can definitely find something that you will like here. The next time I am here I will go with a burger, or the prime rib sandwich looks promising.

Out of five skins, (this is a golf club after all), five being best to zero being worst, O'Neill's get three skins.

For more information on O'Neill's click here:

O'Neill's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon


  1. Bit of a time lag here, but since you're one of the few bloggers to review this place, I thought I would add my two-cents, non-expert, comments. We ate here last night during a retirement party for one of my wife's Saddleback College colleagues. As a result, we ate in the ballroom from a prepared buffet line, not the actual restaurant. Regardless, we loved the food (as did, I think, all our table mates). Chicken breasts were tender and in a tasteful sauce. The smokey beef (brisket, I think) was tender and flavorful. Mashed potatoes were some of the best restaurant potatoes I've had in ages. Salad had a very nice creamy garlicky ceasar dressing, and the grilled vegetables were tasty. Add in the efficient table service and wonderful and beautiful surroundings, and I'd say this was a treat that I didn't expect. Since this is so close to Saddleback College, I can see us choosing to eat here again. The Christmas Eve and Day specials looked promising.

  2. Mike - Yes, this is an old review. I can't believe it has been almost two years since we went to O'Neils. I did not put t in this review, but Katie's sister got married here, and the food for the wedding was some of the best wedding food we have had. Now that you got me thinking about O'Neils again, it might be time to revisit this restaurant. Glad you had a great time here, and let me know what you think of the restaurant once you go. Thanks for the comment.