Set as a direct competitor to Stone Brewing World Bistro and Garden in Escondido, CA, Chef Deborah Scott and the Cohn Group have set up camp in a very large eclectic venue overlooking a sea of Lexus automobiles; yet elevated slightly above the Escondido Target store shopping promenade, Interstate 15 and the picturesque Escondido Auto Park.
An afternoon cocktail on the Lanai, placed directly in the setting sun’s path; a squint into the glare reveals a more elevated Stone Brewing Company’s huge factory grinding out barrels of beer, and an empty concert/event patio venue (yes they’ve had George Benson and, I believe, Chaka Khan).
This afternoon, Vintana’s multiple staff members offered 4 star service to a reasonably busy crowd. My water remained full, iced and cold within a few sips. I thought I was going to become buoyant as my water baby continued to grow larger with every gulp.
I have known of Chef Deborah Scott from previous research as she is one of San Diego’s most respected chefs. Today (our first visit) we ordered a couple of appetizers consisting of Calamari and a Brie Cheese log. Both were excellent and fairly priced ($$$). I ordered the squid to see if the Lanai (remote) kitchen could execute it properly without the direct supervision of the chef; who was busy calibrating execution of dinner service from the main kitchen.
Yes, I saw her during my rapid-fire tour of the facility. It is a very nice facility and well decorated as an upscale 5-star retreat, yet the menu remains competitive at the 3-4 star target clientele. We also ordered the 333 Martini and the Mai Tai. My son even ordered a Strawberry Lemonade.
All the drinks were exquisitely prepared and presented. My son’s lemonade came in a glass that resembled a Lava Lamp. We thought it funny, but very nice.
As a direct competitor of Stone, my counterpart and I expected that Vintana would have several quality micro brews on tap (they had a few), but also host San Diego’s premier Stone (they did, offering Arrogant Bastard and IPA). Well done!
So give Vintana a try. I know we’ll be back for a full dinner someday.
I guess I can’t give them no less than four lava lamps as the sun sets!
Andrew DePaolo is a food lover, entertainment critic and North Escondido resident. He is a chef/columnist of experiences relating to the Food, Beverage and Hospitality (FB&H) services industries who doesn’t pull any punches with his news and views of venues and events. Expect the unvarnished truth as he sees fit. For more, visit http://critdicks.com/.