Review: Vintana — Lexus of Escondido

Lounge area at Vintana.

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.

http://www.cohnrestaurants.com/menu-restaurants/vintana-wine-dine/

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!

That's a lot of lava lamps.

That’s a lot of lava lamps.

The man with the plan.

The man with the plan.

 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/.

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