April 19, 2013
Located in a small mini mall in Dana Point this place is not what you would expect. Kind of sports bar, kind of local flavor, but the real surprise is how this unassuming restaurant has such bold and unique…delicious food!
Peter Andriet, well known for opening up the first microbrewery in Orange County, really keeps himself and staff in perfect harmony with the customers. There is something in the air here, his employees are happy and carefree, and it shows. When asked how he picks such wonderful people he says that his staff just magically appear. He doesn’t do a lot of advertising to get them. They just walk through the door one day and he hires them. And let me tell you, Peter’s positive attitude, reflects in all of his workers, his executive chef Ronnie and The Points great food.
Christina Lomeli, our bartender, was so elegant and beautiful. She really could not have been sweeter. Coming from Fratello’s family restaurant in San Clemente, Christina says sometimes she has to act like the resident shrink for the bar, and sometimes the customers act like hers. Her favorite thing about the place though is the atmosphere, and that it is really one big family. Yes, this is my point; The Point is Orange County’s new “Cheers”, where everyone knows your name!
Here’s what I had:
Wedge Salad with blue cheese crumbles, bacon, diced tomatoes. This salad is very large, the iceberg wedge is very solid and crisp, and the accoutrements are all excellent.
Catalina Clam Chowder – Their version of the New England classic made fresh daily and served in an artisan bread bowl. When by the sea order the chowder, be prepared for all the extra herbs that are in this very filling soup.
California Burger with aged blue cheese, bacon, and California avocado. This one packs a punch, with its very big bacon strips and nice smokey flavor, a great burger.
Pepperoni Pizza – This would be considered a small pizza, done in their pizza oven, it a pizza lovers pizza.
St. Louis style BBQ Ribs – Slow roasted with tangy BBQ sauce with hand battered onion rings. Wow, these are so good, next time I would skip a lot of the other menu items and go straight for these wonderful ribs! They smoke them for 5 hours to get that fall off the bone smokey flavor. That said, the onion rings, I died and went to heaven, amazing!!
Seafood Paella – The Point style. Salmon, cod, clams, shrimp, sausage, bell pepper, onion in a saffron broth, over bed of rice. Lots of very fresh seafood, and good saffron flavors drizzled amongst the great fish broth.
Fry Bread Pastrami Sandwich – Indian fry bread wrapped around hot pastrami, mustard, pickles, pepperoncini, Swiss cheese, and with garlic fries. This one is a favorite, so different. Kind of blue collar, but also ethnic, with the Indian Fry bread, not something you would ever see served with juicy pastrami. The garlic fries were crispy with just the right among of garlic.
3/5/7 Sliders with Hawaiian roll, French mayonnaise, pickle, aged cheddar cheese. Very simple, but wonderful, and the Hawaiian bread adds a sweetness that you would not get from a sesame seed bun.
Lumpia – Homemade Filipino egg rolls. Ground pork, shrimp, carrots, soy, sesame, water chestnuts and green onion. This would be a traditional Filipino Appetizer. Chef Ronnie got this recipe form his uncle Lito Badua, who is Filipino. This one I am totally hooked on. I just love a really good lumpia. These are very small almost cigar like, but they are so perfect. The sauce is just what you would expect with this Filipino treat.
Steamers – Steamed clams in a white wine, with citrus butter and cilantro sauce. This is a different version of this great dish, with there being a sauce not a broth. There are large sliced onions as well, a good balance of flavors.
The Wines I tried:
Chardonnay, Chateau St. Jean, Sonoma, CA. This wine went great with The Seafood paella, and the Lumpias, just the right amount of fruit and acidity to balance these 2 dishes.
Chardonnay, Parducci, Mendocino County, CA. One of my favorite wines, went great with The Steamers, added some nice notes to the garlic sauce.
Sauvignon Blanc, Out Of Beer. This is a fun light fruity wine, great with The Wedge Salad as well as the Fry Bread Pastrami Sandwich.
North Coast, CA
Sauvignon, Silvertap, Sonoma County – Very drinkable, no heavy grapefruit, just good peachy flavors. This wine went great with the sweetness of The Sliders.
The atmosphere is fun and friendly, especially for kiddies. They have a kid’s cave, where children can enjoy their favorite movie, draw on a chalkboard, and eat off of the kid’s menu. It is very airy, clean, with great classic rock music. There is also an outside patio right off of Pacific Coat Highway. And who can forget Truman the 7-month-old Great Dane who greeted me at the door.
It has a 60’s beach vibe to it , but with sophistication. There are flat screen TV’s for the sports enthusiast, and a cool overhead industrial fan and charming hardwood floors. My favorite part was the 2 four tops tables that look out over the spectacular view of Dana Point and the Harbor. The Point is so relaxing and peaceful, what a way to spend an afternoon.
Peter the owner really knows his stuff; he previously owned 3 other bars specializing in beer, 1 in Newport Beach, Huntington, and Tustin. He took some time off and then saw this new opportunity for a fun, casual, change at a new bar in Blue Lantern Plaza. He prides himself on innovation, one being the premium wines on tap. He likes the idea of getting his wine right from the barrel to eliminate the middleman so his customers don’t have to pay and arm and a leg for good wine.
So check out this new fun spot with great food. A place where everyone will soon know your name.
The Point Restaurant & Bar
Dana Point, CA. 92629