The new kid on the block in the Irvine Spectrum is Del Frisco’s Grille. Located in it’s own building convenient to parking, Del Frisco’s offers up food that is both familiar and unique at the same time. Locally-sourced foods are utilized and The restaurant itself is very comfortable with an interesting combination of industrial design accented by warm woods. By dividing the restaurant into four distinct sections, Del Frisco’s creates an opportunity for guests to come for different reasons and be able to enjoy themselves.
The main dining area is a perfect place for couples and small groups of friends to go for a nice dinner, not quiet but not too noisy either. Communal seating allows larger groups to sit together. The patio room, with its fireplace and expansive view across the lawn of the Spectrum, has couches for relaxing and tables for al fresco dining, makes it a perfect place to have a romantic dinner or just a nice drink. Meanwhile, the huge rectangular bar in its own room makes for a great place for friends who want to have some drinks and delicious appetizers while enjoying spirited talk. Finally, there is a private room for 8 to 10 people. This room, complete with presentation screen, is perfect for a small company business dinner or an adult birthday party. One other interesting part of this room is that one side has a large window looking right onto the kitchen, making it a perfect dining location for food enthusiasts seeking to have a “Chef’s Table” experience.
The bartenders at Del Frisco’s mix up some excellent drinks. The VIP Cocktail is very simple, a martini glass filled with Sweet Hawaiian Pineapple-Infused Svedka Clementine Vodka. The drink was smooth, not overly sweet and very fresh tasting. Part of that is due to the pineapple infusion, which like most items at Del Frisco’s is made fresh on the premises. A seasonal drink, the Tennessee Peach, combines Jack Daniels whiskey, fresh peaches, honey and fresh lime juice. The drink was nicely balanced with the other flavors still allowing the Jack Daniels to shine. One of the best things to be said about this drink was the reaction when tasted by someone who is not a whiskey drinker, with the reaction being “that’s really good!”. An extensive wine list and beers on tap round out the beverage choices.
Del Frisco’s Grille encourages sharing and has a wide variety of sharable items. One of the appetizers that can be shared is the Cheesesteak Eggrolls. This unusual appetizer may be the exception to the sharing rule since after one taste everyone may want their own. Thinkly sliced steak and cheese is wrapped in an eggroll skin and deep fried. Served with a sweet and spicy chili sauce, this unusual sounding combination wins hands down for one of the best and most unique appetizers available any place. The melty cheese, tender beef, crunchy eggroll skin and spicy and sweet chili sauce as well as a mustard sauce made for a taste treat that was hard to resist not ordering a second plate of.
Another winner is the Jumbo Lump Crabcake which is just what it sounds like. As opposed to most which are half fillers, this is just about all crab and absolutely delicious. Served on a pool of Cajun Lobster Sauce, this crabcake allows the sweet jumbo lump crab to star just the way it should be.
Other items that are good for sharing are a wide variety of flatbreads and salads. A Wild Mushroom Flatbread with Fontina cheese, caramelized onions and baby arugula is one of four choices of flatbreads that are on the menu. For the ‘Big Green’ Salads, definitely sharable by several persons, an Ahi Tuna Salad or a Steakhouse Salad is a good choice. For vegetarians, the perfect salad choice is the Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad. Tender kale, thinly sliced fresh Brussels sprouts, orange segments, dried cranberries and shaved Manchego cheese coated with a Creole Mustard Vinaigarette make up one delicious salad. Chicken can be added too, but this is a perfect salad just the way it comes. As a sharable starter salad for a group, this is an excellent choice.
Main dishes run the gamut from Mesquite Smoked Pork Chops, Veal Meatloaf and Roasted Chicken to Ahi Tuna Steak, Wild Salmon and Chicken Alfredo. One of the specialties is Sole Francese, topped with lump crab and a chive-lemon butter. On the side, an arugula-cherry tomato salad adds nice textural contrast while a grilled lemon allows a different splash of acid to the usual plain lemon that most places give. The sole, with its mild taste complemented the crab nicely, while the sauce added brightness to the flavor of both without masking flavors. On the dinner menu, sandwiches include a Lamb Burger, a Prime Beef Cheeseburger , A Cali chicken Sandwich and a Veggie Burger with a special hand-crafted patty made in-house.
Del Frisco’s Grille prides itself on its meats. A 16 oz. Prime NY Strip is a perfect example of this. The meat was nicely seasoned and cooked to a perfect medium rare. Cutting through the nicely caramelized crust, the beef inside was tender, juicy and flavorful. A simple presentation with a potato cake was all that the beef needed. Other beef choices included a Prime Beef Short Rib Stroganoff, a 16 oz. Prime Ribeye and two sizes of Filet Mignon. A good accompaniment is one of several side dishes that can be had. An outstanding choice is the Truffled Mac and Cheese, using Italian ‘Radiatori’ pasta to hold all the cheesy goodness. The cheese blend is excellent and the bread crumbs that top the mac and cheese before it is baked and served in a cast-iron pan add nie crunch to the dish.
Several desserts are made at Del Frisco’s. A Six Layer Lemon Doberge Cake was good, not too rich and withfrosting that wasn’t too sweet. Finally, for those who want something just a little different for dessert, there is an Adult Milkshake. Served in a milkshake glass, the vanilla ice cream is livened up by Nocello Walnut Liquer, Creme de Cacao, and Chocolate Liquer. Sweet, refreshing and with a definitely grown up taste, this is one milkshake that it’s worth saving some room for.
Del Frisco’s Grille in the Irvine Spectrum is open for Sunday Brunch, monday through Saturday lunch and dinner seven days a week. It is not only a good place to eat while visiting the Spectrum, but the proximity to the parking structure combined with not having to go through the Spectrum itself to get to it means that it is convenient as well as delicious place to go. It also makes it an excellent choice for groups. Add to that the excellent food, hand-crafted cocktails and service from a staff that is proud of their product and Del Frisco’s Grille is sure to become a winner in the Southern Orange County food scene.
Del Frisco’s Grille
620 Spectrum Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
PH: (949) 341-0376