Rediscovery: EnoSteak

Introduced in 2007 as the posh wine bar Eno at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, EnoSteak is now the luxe resort’s clubby new steak salon. After speedy rejuvenation and a June reopening, gone are the original tasting bar, high tables, and abundant cheese cave, and new are dining tables, polished waiter service, and a compact menu starring expensive steaks from premium producers.

Executive chef Andres Jimenez squeezes in a fresh fish option and a roasted chicken for a lineup of about half a dozen entrees, starters, and sides.

We start with the small, savory pot of chicken liver paté, the silken spread topped with balsamic-glazed shallots. We want more when it’s gone.

Like traditional steakhouses, entrees ($25 to $65) are a la carte. But each includes a choice of compound butters, billed as a signature touch, from a roster of flavors such as black truffle, heirloom tomato, and tarragon-scented béarnaise.

The day’s fresh halibut and one of two steaks we order medium-rare are overcooked. At EnoSteak, sides ($9) are your friends, though they barely feed two. Next time, we’ll ask for two orders of the velvety Yukon Gold potatoes, spiked with sour cream and nutty petit Basque cheese. Fresh green beans, al dente and dotted with toasted walnuts and crumbled bacon, make a fine showing. Sauteed wild mushrooms are woodsy, earthy, and not shy on salt. If you’re still hungry, the flourless chocolate tart is commendable.

Given time, EnoSteak is sure to master those entrees—and already offers a striking alternative to the resort’s flashier Raya.

What’s New? 
Eno, the former wine, cheese, and chocolate bar, ditches its tasting room in favor of a deluxe steak menu.

Best New Menu Items 
Chicken liver paté, Yukon Gold potatoes.

Dinner only, closed Sunday and Monday.

1 Ritz-Carlton Drive, DANA POINT, 949-240-2000,

One-and-a-half Stars

Photograph by Bob Hodson

This article originally appeared in the October 2012 issue.

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