Regatta Bar & Grille

By Candace Nelson - 8:00 AM

My friend, Ben, and I went to the Regatta Bar & Grille located at the Waterfront Place Hotel to celebrate my birthday. It's a higher priced restaurant, typical for most located inside a hotel, but for a special occasion, I splurged. I think their menu changes occasionally, so be aware of that.

Parking is available in the neighboring garage, and the restaurant validates it so you don't have to worry about paying. However, when I went this time, our dinner lasted about two hours today. That's fine, because we were chatting. But apparently 2 hours is around $4, and the validation is only good for $3. So I had to call for help, as I was already at the gate with cars behind me. I was disappointed that there's a pretty short time they allow you to park. Luckily, the parking attendant let me go, not that he had another choice, but I'll keep that in mind for next time.

Back to the dining experience. I had a short wait while they cleaned the table, then we were seated next to a flickering fireplace. The dining area isn't too large, but there were a few booths lined along the wall and tables in the center. A nice bar was situated behind us. Monorail yellow and pink lights were overhead and made for a romantic setting.

We were served a small basket with two dinner rolls and some breadsticks, along with some butter and a cream cheesey butter. Basic flavors here.

Looking over the menu, the first thing that caught my eye was the "Spicy Chili-Garlic Seared Atlantic Salmon." It was served with a house salad, as well as sweet mirin rice and julienne vegetables on the side for $18. The suggested wine pairing was a MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir '08 ~ Sonoma, California, which was a tasty, smooth wine.

First, though, the house salad came out. I wasn't expecting much, since it was packaged with the entree. But it was something, alright. Packed with iceberg, romaine, spinach, bacon, gorgonzola, red onion, roasted tomatoes, all in a white balsamic. This was phenomenal. Creative, delicious, yet simple.

My entree was out not too long afterward. A long, white plate housed a large, pink filet of salmon, coated with a red chili sauce, all on top of that sticky rice and julienne veggies. I took for granted their definition of "spicy." I took a bite, and my lips were warm and tingly. But the flavors were powerful. The fish was tender, delicate even, and the spicy sauce added a nice kick. I paired it with the rice to add a base so I didn't get too heated. It really was delicious; it wasn't just hot for the sake of being hot. The chili flavor was fantastic, and the heat only enhanced the flavors of the salmon. The sides were a great pairing to keep the spice from overtaking my tastebuds.

I'm two for two on dishes so far, so I ordered dessert: World Famous "Carnegie Deli" cheesecake. Large: check. Creamy: check. A couple strawberries and whipped cream were nice. I think some stripes of strawberry or caramel sauce could have done wonders, but it's hard to mess up a cheesecake. Pretty tasty.

While I'm usually skeptical of hotel restaurants, this one did pretty well with my meal. I'd be happy to check it out again.

Grade: A
Regatta Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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