Craft beers, boutique wines and good food make their way to Lake Forest.
Not quite fine dining but definitely steps above casual dining, Bru is an interesting concept with a unique feel.
I’ll be honest, I typically don’t go to restaurants in at least the first 3 months. I like to give them time to iron out the kinks which can take months for even the most experienced staff.
Although Bru has only been open 7 weeks we decided to try it with a friend who was in town for the weekend. I’d already dragged my baby to LA and back that day, so I wanted to go somewhere close to home.
We weren’t sure what to expect or how busy it would be. Lake Forest has few restaurants that surpass the casual-dining chains style, service and menu and I wondered how the residents would react.
The place was packed! You enter into the market part, where they sell, beer, rootbeer, wine, cookbooks and some questionable looking tea.
To the right is the bar area with both small tables and big, long bar tables for community seating. Their appears to be both outside seating and a sizeable dining room.
Our only major complaint was that the beer menu is actually written on a chalkboard wall in the dining room. B & his friend actually had to get up and walk over to find out what kind of beers were available. We found out later that they plan on starting daily printed beer menus the following week to alleviate that problem.
We started off with the housemade charcuterie plate called Something Cured.
Honestly, it was all really good. When dropped no one explained what everything was we didn’t know until we asked him after most of it had been eaten. We were able to figure some out by ourselves. The proscuitto, the different types of salami (duck, truffle and venison), a type of ham, all with olives, candied pecans and marmalade.
When we did get the chance to ask, the server was very knowledgeable. I think that as they gain experience the servers and foodrunners will adjust and things like this won’t get overlooked.
We also had The Veg (I think that is what they were called) which had zucchini, pickles and green beans. The spicy Ajisimo Agavanaga (a type of hot sauce) sauce was delicious, the spice was perfect with the fried veggies.
It was a cold and rainy day and we were craving comfort so I decided to go with the short ribs.
The boneless short ribs were fantastic, melt in your mouth with wilted greens and savory bread pudding. The bread pudding was a nice change from potatoes or other puree.
I did notice that there was a little girl eating a dish that was obviously made for children although we were never offered a child’s menu. At 14 months Peanut is at that weird in-between stage where he could or could not be ready for a children’s menu. Normally I don’t order off of it as Peanut tends to eat off our plates and I always bring food for him, just in case. I will say that since we were eating such rich dishes I may have ordered something simple for him to eat had I been given the chance.
I won’t fault them for it because he is so young. I suppose most kids his age aren’t ready for the kid’s menu. They should, however, get used to offering it to anyone with a child in a highchair.
B had the lamb shank and at first glance he felt that the portion was too small for the price.
He did think the dish had great flavor and he would order it again. It came with sautéed greens (I have no idea what kind) and a white bean cassoulet.
Peanut had a bite as well and I know he would’ve eaten much more but I didn’t want to give him too much rich food. While we waited for dessert Peanut started to get restless so I turned him around to watch the kitchen in action. Pure entertainment.
Chef Joseph came over to say a hello and Peanut was an instant fan. I thought it was awfully nice of the chef to periodically turn around and entertain our baby while he was in the middle of expediting.
We had the Tahitian Vanilla ice cream, creamy with lots of vanilla bean flavor.
Matt, who we later found out was the owner, also stopped by the table to say hello and ask how our experience at Bru was going.
Our friend gave him some input and I have to say that he was fantastic about the feedback. It was nice to see him making the rounds and talking to patrons.
We couldn’t possible skip dessert, it’s just not in me.
I had the donut pops. I’m going to say me because really I ate the whole thing myself. Pops in general are funny to me because really people love anything on a stick. Now we just put a stick in everything, even if it doesn’t come out standing up.
Vanilla, chocolate and something with a cinnamon sugar coating… all of which were moist and delicious and I’m craving them right now. There were three dipping sauces, chocolate, creme anglais and the wild card, grape.
I obviously liked all of it because I finished everything on the plate, including the cotton candy it came on.
Although there were a few minor glitches I admire how well they are doing in just 7 weeks.
We enjoyed the food, the service was good and you definitely got the feeling that everyone genuinely cared about the restaurant, the food and most importantly, you. We’ll be back.
Bru Grill & Market
23730 El Toro Road, Lake Forest, CA 949-305-5757