Monday, August 15, 2011

Silver Trumpet Full of Hot Air?

Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar
3350 Avenue of the Arts
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

A lot of people ask me how we pick the restaurants we go to. Some restaurants we know we need to go to because they are really popular, and we want to see what all the fuss is about. Some places just really appeal to us, those are usually hit or miss. Some restaurants are close to home, when we do not want to drive too far. We get tips from readers and friends, those places are usually the best. Then sometimes, like this place, we are asked to do a review by a PR person.

After reading the press release I put it on our list of places to try. The Silver Trumpet is located in the Wyndham Hotel, right near the Performing Arts Center. It must be challenging for a hotel restaurant to draw locals to dine there. I imagine that a high percentage of guests at hotel restaurants are also guest of the hotel. I very rarely eat at hotel restaurants. Not sure why that is. They just do not stick out in my mind.

We had made reservations for 6:30 on a Friday night. As you can see from the picture, they were unnecessary. The restaurant was deserted. From the time we got here to the time we left, we were the only two people in the dining room. There were two parties of two out on the patio throughout our stay. It is usually not a good sign when the waitstaff of a restaurant outnumbers the guest in the dining room, but we kept an open mind, and ordered. Here is how it all came out.

Starting of course with the obligatory bread basket shot. This was some of my favorite bread that we have had recently. Good flavor and the butter was rich and creamy. The only drawback with this bread was the tough crust.

For a starter, Katie went with the House Pulled Mozzarella. This cheese was served with marinated peppers, toasted almonds, and sherry. Katie remarked that this dish was very fresh. She was also a fan of the peppers and nuts here, feeling that they added different layers of texture to this appetizer.

To be honest, none of the traditional appetizers appealed to me, so I went with an old standby, the Romaine Lettuce. This Caesar wanna be had Parmesan cheese, a garlic crouton, and Parmesan dressing. This was a decent salad, but I would have liked more dressing on this. The lettuce featured a few bitter parts. The cheese here was good and plentiful.

No shocker here, Katie had a shrimp entree. This is the Roasted Shrimp. Here the shrimp are accompanied by a roasted polenta cake, a paprika sauce and a roasted pepper stew. This spicy sounding dish made Katie pretty happy. The flavor hit her in waves, but was not overwhelming. She was pleased with the polenta cake, but would have liked more shrimp served with this.

My first choice for dinner, the Short Rib, they were out of, so I deferred to my second option, the Flat Iron Steak. This steak was cooked just the way I wanted it, medium rare. Good flavor, although I would have liked more of the red wine sauce that this was served with. More tender than other flat iron steaks I have had recently. The vegetables this was served with were average, but the roasted potatoes really stood out here. Crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside, these were some spectacular spuds. I love alliteration.

I guess you can say that I am in search of a great Creamed Spinach , so I had to order it here. I liked the sauce, but it was a little too watery. I would have liked the sauce to be able to stick to the spinach a little bit. The spinach was cooked well, but I am still in search of great creamed spinach.

Caramelized Banana Chocolate Tart, with peanut butter ice cream sounded so good on the dessert menu, but sadly this was a big let down. The main downfall of this was the crust. Very plain tasting. I think a chocolate crust on this would have been better. The peanut butter ice cream needed more peanut butter flavor also. The caramelized bananas were the one bright spot here.

The service at the Silver Trumpet was of course good. How could it not be good, with only three tables out of forty being in use. The trick for a waiter when it is so slow is not to become intrusive, that was the case here. Our waiter did not seem bored and really did not crowd us. The decor was nice and relaxed, with of course trumpet music piped in. According to our waiter they have been through renovations recently, and they have one more to go through in the bar area, and they are also going to create an entrance from the street.

Overall, we liked the food here. The dinners that we had were really good, maybe a little over-priced, but that might be due to the fact that this was in a hotel. People on vacations tend not to worry about prices while they are on vacations, and then when they get home they wonder why they paid $31 for a steak. It was also a little eerie being the only people in this restaurant. Hopefully this was out of the norm for this restaurant. I am not sure how a hotel restaurant can become a destination restaurant for locals, but this one might have a shot at it.

So out of five Satchmo's, (famous trumpeter, Louis Armstrong's nickname), five being best to zero being worst, the Silver Trumpet gets three Satchmo's.

For more information on the Silver Trumpet, click here:

Silver Trumpet Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoon


  1. ate in the bar Tuesday night. A simple request: just the burger and a beer. 3 of the 5 beers I requested were sold out. The one I finally got, while billed as a Pale Ale, was in fact an Amber. I had to ask fro the glass.
    the bartender was eating popcorn from a large bowl with his bare hands. the same popcorn that was supposed to be scooped out and served to patrons in a dish.
    And then --- food poisoning at 2am.
    If you go, you'll notice the dining room while beautiful is empty.
    theres a reason.

  2. Anonymous - Thanks for the update on this place. Sorry the service was so bad for you on that Tuesday night. The time we were here the dining room was empty as well. I think a lot of the problem might be that they are too tucked away from traffic, and locals do not generally think to eat at hotel restaurants. Thanks for taking the time to comment.