It’s been quite some time since I’ve had a meal at Bacchus Wine Bar, and on a recent visit with friends, I was surprised to find that they’re offering a full menu now, instead of just bites.
Since my last visit about five years ago, Bacchus now has a new owner, as well as a new chef. I inquired whether there’s a new kitchen — no, they’re still using the same, small, make-shift kitchen like before, which is why I was intrigued to see the quality of the items arriving on our table.
We started with the Shady Canyon Board ($26) comprising three artisanal cheeses and three gourmet meats. I love that they use local companies to procure their meats — Mattern in Orange — as well as the diverse flavors on the board. The warm bread is fantastic, so good we asked for more.
I’m not a huge fan of pork belly, but Pork Lollipops ($11) were chunks of well-rendered meat, enveloped with a robust Korean barbecue sauce. It wasn’t overly sweet, but had a bold flavor which meshed well with the mashed potatoes.
I’m a huge fan of seafood, and Market Fresh Fish was a stellar entree served on a bed of jasmine rice, asparagus, carrots and a lemongrass beurre blanc. The rice was seasoned with the beurre blanc, giving it the most flavorful result that my friend and I were fighting for the last bite.
Meat lovers will relish the Braised Short Ribs ($24) — tender, fall-off-the-bone meat smothered in a red wine reduction, paired with mashed potatoes, carrots and asparagus.
While most people visit Bacchus to drink wine, I am very happy that they are now serving a solid menu as well. I am impressed by the chef’s ability to work and create something this good, with the minimum resources he has in the back. Very exciting for those of us who live close by.
Bacchus Bar & Bistro
6735 Quail Hill Pkwy
Irvine, CA 92603