We dined last night at Andrea for our second time in over 2 years, bringing my mother and hoping for an improved experience. Our first visit left us feeling bland. Our second visit did nothing to change our view. As locals living nearby, we don't plan to visit again until Andrea changes its chef.
Andrea is a beautiful restaurant with a great view and expensive prices. The staff and service were wonderful. But the food continues to disappoint; lackluster is the best we can describe it. Bland is perfectly accurate.
The opening shot of stale bread sticks didn't help. From there, the food quality went downhill.
Our appetizers included the octopus and scallops. The octopus was bland, slightly undercooked (in my experience, grilled octopus should have a nice mix of tender interior with crisp exterior texture), and completely overpowered by the bean preparation sauce. The scallops were perfectly cooked, but the sauce was bland and overpoweringly heavy--especially considering this is California. Decent, but nothing to write home about, and certainly lame for a restaurant in such a world-class resort.
Our entrees included the lamb and the swordfish. The lamb was well cooked but absolutely flavorless. If you bit into the fatty and salty crust, you got a nice flavor but which was way too salty and way too fatty. The actual lamb had no seasoning whatsoever. It was schizophrenic if I ever saw it. My husband's swordfish was just not a quality piece of fish that was overcooked and also largely flavorless. He said it was the worst swordfish he'd had in Orange County for several years.
Our desserts were actually quite good--I got the chocolate gelato and they got an assortment tray sampler. Our server also was sweet to bring an anniversary espresso mousse dessert free of charge after overhearing us mention our anniversary was approaching (in a few days). VERY nice touch service-wise. Melissa is a gem, indeed, for Andrea.
Overall, Melissa graciously took a lamb order off the bill after hearing our complaints and apologized profusely. Her service could not be faulted. But ultimately, the weakness of the entire meal can't be overcome by Melissa's tremendous service.
Andrea's chef needs to be replaced. It is sinful that such a great resort as Pelican Hill can have such flavorless food at such prices. For those considering dining there, don't. Go to Marche Moderne, Basilic, Stonehill Tavern at the St. Regis, Studio at Montage (though even more pricey), Hamamori, Blue Fin, Modo Mio, Javier's, or Mastro's instead--all within 20 minutes drive, and all are MUCH better.
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