Thursday, August 4, 2011

Citrus City Sweet or Sour?

Citrus City Grille
122 N. Glassell St.
Orange, CA 92866

Downtown areas in the OC have seen a rebirth lately. Fullerton has always had a large downtown fan base with its bars and restaurants. Brea has been opening and closing retail outlets and restaurants almost weekly for awhile now. Then there is downtown Orange. In the last few years they have increased their restaurant credibility by opening a number of highly touted dining spots. Haven Gastropub, Gabbi's, and Bruxie moved in to downtown Orange to join old stalwarts like Felix, Watson's, and the restaurant we were headed to this night, Citrus City Grill.

Citrus City Grill has been around since 1996, which just barely makes it a veteran restaurant at The Orange Circle. It was bought by three longtime friends back then, but it was sold to its current owners in 2000. They revamped the menu, renovated the concept, and even expanded, when they opened another CCG out in Corona. We came to downtown Orange to take a haunted walking tour, but first we wanted to see if the food here would be a trick or a treat.

Here is a shot of the bread basket. This bread was not very memorable. I did not even write anything about it in my notes, so I guess it failed to make an impression.

Jamie started her night off with the Butter Lettuce Salad. This salad featured poached pears, Gorgonzola, and a raspberry vinaigrette. The ever articulate Jamie, claimed that eating this salad reminded her of Christmas time. Not sure why she said that, but she wanted me to make sure I put that in. I liked this salad, because of the varying textures that were included here. A little more Gorgonzola would have made this salad even better.

I had not realized it until I looked back over my last few posts, but I have been on a real Caesar salad kick recently, and here at Citrus City Grille that trend continued. The thing that distinguishes this Caesar from others is the capers that are added to this, in place of anchovies. This was a good twist, but the croutons here were not as good as I would have liked, and the result made this Caesar average.

Katie bucked the trend by not opting for a salad, but having the Vegetable Spring Rolls instead. These rolls had a crunchy outer shell, were a little greasy, but had a good flavor. These were not what we had expected, but I am not usually a big fan of spring rolls because they can seem rather flavorless. These had a decent flavor, the veggies were slightly crisp, and peanut sauce was milder than usual, but it worked well with these rolls.

Now on to the main entrees, starting us off is Nathan's selection, the Reserve Angus Filet Mignon. This 12 ounce steak was over cooked according to Nathan. He felt that the veggies and potatoes were cooked very well, and over shadowed the filet. Not something that you want to happen when you are paying $38 for steak. The bite that I had of this was okay, but it was cooked too much for my taste as well.

To put it mildly, Jamie is a real picky eater. She does not eat meat, and I never see her eat anything other than pizza. Okay, maybe that is because we are in a bowling league where we get a pizza every week, but that is besides the point. This was my first time seeing her eat grown up food, and she chose the Bow Tie Pasta. The bow tie pasta comes with basil, Parmiggiano cheese, pine nuts, (which she omitted), and a tomato cream sauce. She really enjoyed this dish and I did as well. The sauce was a little on the thin side, but was very flavorful.

Katie sees Shrimp Scampi on any menu, and it is usually a good bet that she gets it. At CCG the scampi is served over linguini, with feta cheese, Roma tomatoes, and of course a garlic butter sauce. Katie called this dish, "mild". The feta did add some bite to this dish, but the shrimp was served lukewarm. It is not usually a good sign when a scampi is described as mild. This dish should pop with flavor, and this one failed to do so.

I admit it, I stole Nathan's choice for dinner. Sorry big guy! I had the Prime Pork Flat Iron. This 10 ounce hunk of meat was cooked very well, and had a nice flavor. I wish I had more maple syrup glaze with this, but that is my only complaint with the pork. The veggies served with this were average, but the Gorgonzola potatoes were a step above the vegetables. I also enjoyed the caramelized onions that were served along side the meat. They gave a nice contrast to heartiness of the pork. I also ordered the side dish above, the Sauteed Spinach. This was not very good. The spinach was a little over cooked, and lacked a big flavor punch that I had expected.

By the time dessert rolled around we were all pretty full, but we had to try their Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee. This was very pudding like, but not as creamy as we would have liked. The flavor was also just a bit off for us. Not a horrible creme brulee, but not the best one we have had.

The ambiance is pretty good at Citrus City Grille. The mood is relaxed and casual. Kind of an older crowd the night we were here. We got here at six on a Friday night and the place was very busy. Almost all of the thirty tables were taken, and most of the bar seats were occupied as well.  The service was very attentive, without being too pushy. We felt that the prices might be a little on the high side for what you get.The menu was varied just enough, so that I am sure almost anyone could find something to their liking.

So out of five tools, (because the location that houses this restaurant, started as a hardware store in 1886), five being best to zero being worst, Citrus City Grille gets 2.5 tools.

For more information on Citrus City Grille, click here:

 Citrus City Grille on Urbanspoon


  1. "The OC" is a tv show. If you live here, it's just "OC" geeez

  2. Anonymous - I will try and remember that in the future. Thanks for the comment.