Mere minutes from Disneyland at the Grand Californian Hotel, Napa Rose is an adult haven away from the maddening yap of countless misbehaved kids high on sugar and seeing Mickey and even worse parents who just want to escape and have a drink. Generally considered the best restaurant in the area, it’s a beautiful room, Californian art deco from which pleasant servers doll out overpriced but proficient food from the open kitchen.
The Monsters are going to see Andrea Bocelli and even though Disneyland scares the bejeezus out of The Monster (been once, never again) there aren’t many other options in the area for adult food. Just getting to the restaurant The Monster sees scores of children whose parents have obviously given up. While The Monster doesn’t yet have children, he’s pretty sure when he does watching them beat each other over the head with a large stick (and laughing about it) won’t be part of the program.
Once safely ensconced in the restaurant it’s time to peruse the lovely sounding menu. Here’s the tally for this night:
Pan roasted diver scallops on a sauce of lobster and lemon accented with vanilla, sautéed Dover sole with lobster-cranberry bean ragu and truffled winter squash coulis, wild striped bass with crushed heirloom tomatoes, garlic, caper, oregano and olive oil, brussel sprouts and butternut squash with toasted pine nuts.
The scallops are fine though served lukewarm which just doesn’t work. The vanilla shines through however in a sauce made for sopping up with bread.
For the price, the Dover sole portion is ridiculously Lilliputian. Factoring in everything is a la carte and it’s actually insulting to serve a main course this small. Is it good? Sure. Is it worth it? Not even close.
The bass is meaty and flavorful. It’s a good, hearty winter dish and the first course where everything is working in harmony.
The sprouts are laden in oil but generally pleasing with the pine nuts and butternut squash.
When the check comes The Monster is dismayed at the disconnect between the food he has eaten and the bill he has been provided. Yes, this is a captive audience, and yes the room is marvelous, and yes the service is warm. But from a gustatory standpoint the meal levels out right around “okay” while the tariff levels out right around “are you f-ing kidding me?”
Which is exactly what The Monster says when he walks out the door and sees a gaggle of kids half naked and wild-eyed tearing straight at him.
Why go? Bocelli was worth it.
Monster rating: 2½/5 Monsters
1600 South Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802