Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Best thing I ate this week: Filet at the Sidecar

Isn't this just about the prettiest thing you've ever seen? A thick filet of beef, sitting pretty atop creamed spinach, yukon gold potatoes, and a puddle of port wine sauce. This was the best thing I put in my mouth this week, by far. And it all happened at The Sidecar Restaurant under the watchful and skilled eye of one of my favorite local chefs, Tim Kilcoyne. The filet, which I like to order medium rare, was tender with just the right amount of pink and the outside was perfectly caramelized and peppery.

Now to tell you the truth, the reason I ordered the filet is because of the creamed spinach. When done right, this is the ultimate comfort food. So when I see it on a restaurant menu, especially a restaurant as good as the Sidecar, I rarely pass it up.

Rather than creaming his spinach in a thick and heavy bechamel, Chef Tim likes to keep it simple. The spinach is blanched and then mixed with a decadent sauce made with heavy cream, and then finished with a bit of butter just to make sure you never forget it. And even though only a small amount comes on the plate with the filet, here I am three days later, still thinking about it. The combo of the filet, the creamy spinach, the thick potatoes and the sweet port wine sauce was Oscar worthy.

And in case you just love looking at pictures of memorable food, this is what we had for dessert. Above is the Sidecar bread pudding, made with their homemade bread and finished with a caramel tangerine sauce. Below was the dessert special of the day, a fresh blackberry shortcake. Chef Tim Kilcoyne got the berries from Old Creek Ranch Winery around 4pm, and here they are on my plate around 9pm. The shortcakes were sweet, the berries the epitome of summertime, and the whip cream infused with the flavor of the blackberries as well.


Mike Johnson said...

How was the service? As much as we like the food, we gave up on the Sidecar a few months ago after a long string of bad experiences.

Ventura Food Happenings said...

I've never had anything but great service there. Sorry to hear your experience was different. Did you give them your feedback? Tim seems pretty welcoming to input.

Mike Johnson said...

We've eaten there many times, and I don't think I've ever had great service there.

We've been apologized to but if it's so bad I have to ask for the manager and all I get is "Sorry" or an excuse, it doesn't make up for it.

We've had the wrong entree delivered. One time they completely forgot to bring my son's meal, which was supposed to come first. They brought a glass of wine which was obviously corked, and when I told the waitress she said, Oh, yeah, some people don't like pinot noir. I suggested she just sniff the glass, because you could smell that it was bad, but she declined. And that was it. I paid $7 for half a sip of an undrinkable glass of wine.

One time my wife ordered the burger with bleu cheese, and it came with cheddar, and when she pointed it out they took it back to the kitchen. Five minutes later they brought the same burger back out, with bleu cheese on top of the cheddar. I asked them to cook a new burger, since the other was now cold, and the waiter argued with me about it, saying it was my wife's fault for changing her mind. The manager apologized, saying the menu was ambiguous, but regardless, my wife really did order it with bleu cheese -- all four of us heard it -- and if they're not cooking a new burger it shouldn't take five minutes while everybody's food gets cold. We haven't been back since.

The menu & food are fantastic, though.