>Living in Asia, it was customary to go to a restaurant inside a hotel when one wants good food. Since moving here, I’ve realized that there really isn’t a hotel restaurant culture, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any good restaurants within an ordinarily unassuming hotel in your area
The Hyatt hotel group has recently been surprising me with their in-house restaurants, starting with TusCa at the Garden Grove location and now, 6ix Park Grill at Hyatt Irvine. I recently was invited to attend one of the monthly mixers held at the restaurant and was shocked at how many people were there. The outside area was packed with people enjoying the wine that night — each month, the sommelier chooses a wine and that wine is featured at the mixer — an Alexander Valley Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.
I sat down and was immediately greeted by our server who was very knowledgeable about the menu and was friendly and chatty. We ordered some appetizers off the happy hour menu while we sipped on the wonderfully full-bodied wine of the month.
We started with Kobe Beef sliders ($8), two nicely done American Kobe sliders with white cheddar and tomato. The meat was moist and the buns were thoughtfully toasted. I enjoyed this very much.
Grilled sea scallops ($10) were absolutely divine. I loved these very much. The sea scallops were plump and very tender. They are also offered on the regular menu ($28) and served with haricot vert, morel risotto and a red pepper coulis.
Chef de Cuisine, Ted Hill, found his way over to our table and insisted on bringing out some of the house specialties for us to try. I was pretty damn full already but didn’t want to be rude and ended up sampling the Ahi Poke ($11), with cucumber, soy and onion. The menu does not include the fresh ginger, but there was definitely ginger in this very refreshing poke. Served with chips, this could be a meal in itself for those with smaller appetites.
While we were sitting there, the servers come around with complimentary appetizers and one of them happened to be the fava bean bruschetta ($7 on the menu). I love the taste of fava beans and this was indeed a treat. Our well-informed server told us that the fava beans are individually shucked and then pureed to make this delicious spread.
Our 12oz prime USDA rib eye ($41) arrives grilled perfectly at medium rare. Each “chop house” selection comes with one side of your choice and when I looked through the offerings, the whole kernel corn with lime, sea salt, red bell pepper and a touch of cream totally shouted at me. The steak was great, but I could not stop eating the corn. It was THAT good. Chef Hill even divulged his recipe to me so I can make it at home if I wanted to!
I had no room left for dessert, but my dining companion has a sweet tooth so we ended up with pumpkin creme brulee ($7) and chocolate chunk croissant pudding ($8). Both were good, the pudding was a tad too sweet for me with the vanilla sauce, but the Belgian chocolate with the croissants was addictive. The creme brulee was rich and creamy and surprisingly, not as sweet as the vanilla sauce for the pudding. I enjoyed this immensely and wished I had room for more.
The restaurant also has a prix fixe menu ($26) which changes regularly. Entrees at the moment includes chicken, salmon or short ribs. A soup du jour or Californian greens are also included.
Happy hour runs from Monday to Friday between 5.30pm and 7.30pm. The outside patio is a great place to enjoy a drink and some appetizers and if you so choose, move into the main dining room for dinner later. The food is surprisingly good and wine selections means there is something to please everyone! Complimentary valet parking is offered when you dine at the restaurant — just get your ticket validated before you leave.
6ix Park Grill, Hyatt Irvine, 17900 Jamboree Road, Irvine, CA 92614. Tel: (949) 222-6666