Newport Beach, CA 92660
After about five failed attempts we finally made it to Gulfstream. Whether it was lack of reservations, conflicting plans, or just plain laziness, I would not be deterred this time. When Katie asked where I wanted to go for my birthday, it was a no brainer that we would eat here.
Gulfstream is owned by the Hillstone restaurant group. They also run Houston's, Bandera, and other fine dining establishments around the country. Gulfstream is rated very highly on Yelp and Urbanspoon, but I had not personally known too many people that had ever been there. So, I was excited to see if Gulfstream would be worth all the hype.
We arrived at six on a Friday night. The restaurant was empty, but filling up around us as the night went on. The bar was where all the action was. The outside patio also seemed like a place to seen, as it was very busy. The atmosphere here is laid back elegance. There is lots of wood to contrast with the white table cloths and napkins. The kitchen was open, with lots of activity going on in there. Let's see what they had planned for us.
We started the meal with the Dip Trio. This appetizer is served at all Hillstone restaurants, but is tweaked depending on the restaurant. At Gulfstream the dip trio consists of guacamole, humus, and smoked trout dip. To my surprise the trout dip was not overly fishy, and was smoother than I would have expected. The guacamole was nice and fresh, but not the best I had ever sampled. The humus was rich in flavor, but not heavy in the least. Both Katie and I felt this was a very pleasant start to our meal.
When I saw that they had Heavenly Biscuits on the menu, I definitely had to try them. These biscuits were very light and fluffy, with a hint of rosemary. Not dry, and when I added honey to these, they truly lived up to their name. A must get, when you eat here.
The night we were here they offered Crab Cakes, and Katie could not resist them. These cakes were served with a Pommery mustard sauce and Cole slaw. Katie called these crab cakes succulent. Although this crab cake had a thicker cut of crab than she usually likes, she felt that the mustard sauce here really combined well to make this dish work. The Cole slaw she was not to wowed by, calling it good.
It was my birthday, so I was going to go big. I have been on a rib eye kick lately, so this was a great opportunity to give their Prime Rutherford Rib Eye a try. This 24 ounce bone in rib eye had very different layers to it. I ordered this medium rare, and the outer portions of this were more medium, but the insides were definitely cooked the way I wanted it. It is probably pretty hard to get a steak that is 24 ounces to be cooked medium rare all the way around, but this did not detract from the excellence of this steak. The sauce on this hunk of meat was very good. I was informed it was Rutherford's Worcester sauce. The waiter said it combines over twenty ingredients to create it. The rib eye itself was very well marbled and bursting with flavor. The rib eye was served with tomatoes with blue cheese on top. I am not much of a tomato guy, so I took the blue cheese off the tomato and added it to the steak for a winning combination. I also ordered Mashed Potatoes as a side item. These were very buttery, but did not knock our socks off.
No birthday would be complete without dessert, so we ordered their Tres Leches Cake. This was served with blueberries, strawberries, bananas and whipped cream. The fruit here was all top notch. The cake itself was served very cold and was extra creamy. The only thing that could have made this dessert better was if there was more caramel on this.
There was a lot of good, and some not bad, but things that can be improved at Gulfstream. The service was really good this night. The waiter we had was a real pro. Not intrusive, but always around to answer questions, refill drinks and kept things moving in an efficient manner. We really felt like a guest in this restaurant. The food was good, but maybe because of its location was a little over priced. Also the menu is a little too limited. I know most fancy places like to focus on a few plates and make them well, but a little more variety would not be so bad either. Overall, I did like Gulfstream, and will keep it in mind for special occasions.
Out of five horses, (because Gulfstream Park in Florida hosts three grade 1 horse races each year), five being best to zero being worst, Gulfstream gets 3.5 horses.
For additional information about Gulfstream, click here: http://www.hillstone.com/#/restaurants/gulfstream/