The Oaks Grille at TPC Valencia has something to celebrate - or, more accurately, someone. New Executive Chef Peyton Poulsen, a mainstay at the fine-dining restaurant since his days as a busser (He did a stint in 2007 before attending culinary school.), has cultivated a kitchen community that is dedicated to from-scratch cuisine. Under Poulsen's tutelage, Oaks staff handcraft nearly everything, including their divine sausages, using seasonal, local meats, fish and produce. That kind of control over what goes on the plate has allowed Poulsen to expand the beloved establishment's repertoire; more adventurous meals are made possible because the chef is able to customize the experience to the palates of his member and non-member diners. Here's what to order off the new menu.
What to Order Now
Octopus a la Plancha
Chef Poulsen consistently pushes the envelope, expanding SCVians' comfort level with deliciously-adventurous plates like this braised baby octopus appetizer. Quick seared over a Peruvian aji sauce with red onions and fried blue corn tortillas, the tender bites will remind diners of calamari, but brighter, thanks to the lemon and spice prep. I found this app to be a healthy, and filling find that I'll definitely order again.
Aged Prime Steak Sliders
These grilled flat-iron steak sliders are topped with caramelized onions, aged cheddar and a splash of steak sauce. The light-as-air buns pair fabulously with the richness of the peak-quality meat and cheese.
Bring every sausage lover you know, now. I have never been so wowed by ground meats. These beauties take forever to make - and you can tell why. Incredibly rich and flavorful, with a refined texture, the made-on-site chicken, duck and pork pieces are served alongside freshly-toasted hunks of bread for a deceptively-simple meal that's anything but.
A star on the new menu, the venison rack is juniper crusted and flame grilled, then served over Okinawa sweet potato puree, green beans, heirloom cauliflower florets and, finally, splashed with a rhubarb gastrique. The game is light on the palate, gorgeously presented and one of the most celebrated items on the menu.
Chilean Sea Bass
A very-generous portion of this pan-seared sea bass is served over edamame hummus and cuttlefish ink, splashed with a miso vinaigrette and garnished with fresh uni. The Oaks Grille gets whole fresh-fish shipments daily - and they cut and process each themselves to ensure the very best in quality.
Bone-in Pork Chop
If you only try one new menu entree, please make it the achiote-marinated, flame-grilled Chop. Served over a bed of cilantro rice, grilled corn, blistered poblano chili and black-bean puree, then splashed with an Oaxaca mole sauce, this flavorful fusion is tender, incredibly satisfying and the kind of dish that makes you say to your dining companion, "You have to try this. Just don't take too much!"
Friday Night Entertainment at The Oaks Grille
From 6pm to 10pm, relax on the veranda while listening to live music among the heritage oaks. Enjoy the sunset, and your meal, by reserving your space. Non-members may place their reservations up to 48 hours in advance. 288-1995, extension 104