I just ate beef?! Stick a fork in me! I’m done.
Yes folks about 10+ years ago I took a vow I would never eat beef (or any meat for that reason) but slowly I’ve been making my way out of that dark closet and this year, I decided I would only eat beef if I was somewhere fabulous, somewhere where it would be done right, somewhere elegant and when Chef Richard Deming of the Manhattan Steak and Seafood restaurant brought a small plate of something brown I quickly turned to my beautiful dinner date, the fabulous Stacey Soleil and slowly whispered “what is that?” She tried it, confirmed my suspicions, and with a sly grin dared me to try it.
The brown mystery on my plate was beef carpaccio – a thin layer of raw meat and oh so wonderfully delicious in that melt in your mouth way. My non-meat eating days were over and that my friends was the start of a fantastically mischievous evening (if you’ve hung out with Stacey Soleil, you’ll know why). Did I order the steak for dinner? Sadly no. I’m not quite ready to go there yet but Stacey did.
Seated in luxury, we eyeballed the menu and toasted our evening to the tune of two fabulous drinks – a chocolate kiss for me and the Manhattan Latina for Stacey. After whetting our appetites with the carpaccio, we decided to check out the appetizer menu. I’ve had a thing for scallops since I first tried them at a Thai restaurant a few years ago so I had to have them again. Our plate arrived adorned with mini carnations on a bed of lemon butter risotto and we learned this was a signature trait. The chef orders edible flowers fresh everyday. If prepared incorrectly, scallops can become rubbery so I was delighted when I noticed they had a light brown sear and had a wonderful delicate taste. Paired with the risotto, it was a win/win combination. I could have easily eaten this dish solo or ordered an encore.
Our second appetizer was the house favorite butternut squash ravioli topped with another edible flower that we weren’t able to identify. While I loved the buttery finish, I wish the ravioli itself was stuffed with more butternut squash. It was very delicious but sadly I was soaking up more pasta with my sauce than stuffing.
The dinner menu is impressive. There’s quite a selection of wild game, steak, and seafood. I went with the safe option of chicken. Bone-in isn’t my favorite way to eat chicken but the skin was amazingly crisp. The spice rub was perfect and it was amazingly moist on the inside and stuffed with a hearty mixture of spinach and mushrooms that didn’t wilt, loose its texture or flavor. Served on a bed of buttered arborio and sauteed veggies, I was starting to feel the tug on my jeans and we still needed to get through dessert. Oy vey.
The chocolate chip bread pudding is baked fresh and takes about 30 minutes to be prepared. I needed that 30 minutes to recover from my meal. During that time, we ordered a round of coffee. Normally, I wouldn’t fuss over coffee but if it comes with a biscotti and steamed milk, yes I’m making a big deal about it. Most establishments serve a lukewarm room temperature cream that tends to curdle once in contact with the hot coffee or bring down the temperature however the steamed milk kept my coffee hot and it was constantly refilled with more freshly brewed coffee. I was a very happy camper by this point.
Several times throughout the meal, the owner Armond Khosrovian, came in to check up on us, share his plans about the restaurant, and surprise us with a “French Kiss” shot. This shot is a blend of Bailey’s, Kahlua, and Creme de Cacao. The shot is a wonderful blend of flavors. As it shoots down the throat, the mixture blends together and leaves you with a satisfying dreamy warm feeling. Remember my happy camper moment from before? Yeah, this just took it up a notch. We were ready for our yummy mouthwatering dessert that arrived fresh from the oven and went down in 5 minutes. The bread pudding has a soft velvety feel and silky chocolate finish.
The evening ended in their sexy lounge where they always have a lineup of a broad assortment of live music. If you’re trying to have a conversation, it’s probably not the best place to hang out but don’t miss out just to check it out. I love that you can still sit in their dining room, hear the music, and carry out a conversation. Overall, we ended the night feeling like 5 star diners. The Manhattan Steak and Seafood restaurant isn’t in the best location (in the midst of hospitals and a cluster of freeways in Orange) but the experience will be memorable and they will do anything to make sure you dine there even offer you complimentary shuttle service to and from your doorstep. No joke. You really have no excuse not to check this place out. Check out all the photos from that evening here.