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Easter at The Captain's Table

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  • Easter at The Captain's Table

    As most on this forum know, I've been posting MY reviews of restaurants for quite some time now, and over the years have written many positive reviews on The Captain's Table, dating back to the original restaurant located in the long gone Santa Maria. This past summer I found myself doing the unthinkable - writing a absolute failure of a dining report on this restaurant. I took no pleasure in it, but my reviews are REAL, and establishments earn the reviews they deserve. That being said other than a wedding reception, I've not been back on my own to give them another shot until this past Sunday (Easter). Here's my latest take on this popular OC destination. ENJOY!

    It's been years since they've rebuilt, and yet still I can not get use to riding the elevator up to the 3rd floor to dine here. There was just something about the charm of the old place that they've lost and haven't found... They've got the piano player, and as much as I'm sure they are trying, they are still missing that welcoming warm and fuzzy, feeling that use to embrace patrons upon their entrance in the old place... that feeling is now replaced by a cold hotel restaurant "feel". --- Still located on 15th st & boardwalk, same owners, but the place just lacks personality. The owner greeted us at the entrance, and while she was gracious, you couldn't help but wonder if her heart is still in this or not...

    For Easter, dinner was set up as a buffet consisting of, Caesar salad, mashed sweet & regular potatoes, ham, garlic chicken breast, green beans, salmon, seafood pasta, fried oysters, and a carving station featuring leg of lamb, & top round. I sampled a little bit of everything. They still can not make a caesar salad to save their lives, they are putting something sweet in this dressing, as I said in the past - they should just omit this from their bag of tricks. For the most part everything was cooked and seasoned well. The sweet potatoes were smooth and creamy, the green beans were blanched to perfection allowing them to retain their bright color, the salmon was a bit over done, but sitting in a tray like that makes serving it at "medium" almost an impossibility, yet still it was pretty decent, the seafood pasta was surprisingly good, some how the pasta remained el dente, and was full of shrimp, scallops and crab meat (not local crab of coarse but nice jumbo lumps),the oysters were single fried, huge plump I could of made an entire meal out of these alone, the top round was slightly over cooked, but very tasty with the horseradish, the lamb was cooked perfectly and they served it up with a bold rosemary and garlic sauce which complimented the roasted seasoning quite nicely, but unfortunately they had it sitting off to the side of the heat lamp which of coarse means it was cold.... Sadly this affliction was not limited to the lamb alone, other than the seafood pasta just about everything on the buffet was cold, and they were receiving complaints about it - it's a real shame too, because just about everything here was cooked properly. This is of coarse a rather common issue when serving food buffet style, but I still think they could've kept a closer eye on temperature.

    So now, the big questions - Did they redeem themselves? Would/will I return?? Yes to both. While I still think this restaurant is a shell of it's former self, and I probably won't be beating the door down to get back in, it still has a lot of things in the "plus column" --The food is above average, killer location, and reasonable prices. The service was much better than it was previously in July, and the waitstaff appeared to be working with a little more of a sense of urgency now... If the owners could regain the passion for the business that they had a decade ago, it would be firing on all cylinders.

  • #2
    Great report Dean. Unreal about the Caesar salad, didn't think that it can be messed up like that
    common sense is not so common


    • #3
      Thanks for the report. I've never been in that restaurant but it seems decent enough to try. I'll have to add it to the list of places to go to this summer. Caesar salad dressing should not be sweet. That sounds off-putting lol.


      • #4
        As always, a comprehensive and useful report. I'm glad to hear of the redemption, as I also enjoy this place. While I was never at the original, I agree with your assessment that the current venue seems a bit sterile. FYI - based on your reco I've been to The Shark a bunch of times - It has been consistently excellent.


        • #5
          As with any dining report, it's all in the diner's personal taste. I'm still a big fan of the Captain's Table and will never set foot in the Shark again after the disappointing and miserable experience we had there. Lousy service, horrible food, no ambiance at all. But to each his or her own. As in all things, I believe in trying things for myself and eating what I like and not worry about other's opinions. But as always Dean, an excellent write up.
          Ask an OC Insider


          • #6
            A friend of mine was [retired] the chef at one of the major hotels in OC and one time mentioned the biggest problem with restaurants having food not hot on buffets. The kitchen tries to get everything out at one time instead of refilling the buffet at proper times which keeps things fresh and hot. I don't know if this was the problem at Captains Table. I have also found that Captains Table does not seem to have the same allure as the old restaurant.


            • #7
              Thanks for the kind words everybody!

              I have a couple of other reviews of other places, that I might write from that weekend...


              • #8
                Thanks for sharing your review, I do enjoy reading them & hope you write the others. The picture made me think I wouldn't be a fan of the Easter buffet