Like most people who live in Orange County, you have seen the signs for Encore Dinner theater from the side of the 5 freeway at some point. Perhaps you even saw a show when it was still “Curtain Call Theater.” Recently the dinner theater was purchased by a new owner, who refurbished the venue and revamped their food menu. I recently visited Encore Theater with some friends and was able to see how the theater show has changed. The last time I visited, the venue was showing its age, just like the majority of its clientele. Although this time, I was pleased by the quality of food, performance and facilities.
The facility is a former movie theater with tiered levels that accommodates a series of dinner tables, which double as your seats for the show. You pay one set fee for the dinner and show , $40-80, depending on the level of your seat. The inclusive menu includes bread, salad, and main course. The choices for the salad included a house springs mix salad or a classic Caesar salad. The salads were pretty standard that you would get at any catered banquet. I recommend the Caesar salad, between the two.
Half Roasted Lemon Pepper Chicken - Half of a small chicken was roasted with lemon pepper seasoning, resulting in a very juicy and tender dish. It was served with a light gravy, mashed potatoes and squash. I thought that this dish had a very nice portion size and great flavors.
Herb Crusted Tilapia - The tilapia was marinated and baked in a with a dill-parsley pesto and then topped with a drizzle of lemon-thyme aioli sauce. The fish was served with their butter mashed potatoes and the same seasonal vegetables. My tablemate was very pleased with this dish and said the herb and lemon flavors really enhanced the tilapia flavor.
Braised Beef Short Ribs - The short ribs were slow braised on the bone with Cabernet Sauvignon wine, citrus and fresh herbs. The meat was fall of the bone tender and the flavor was extremely impressive with deep Cabernet and beef flavors in every bite and citrus herbs flavors cutting through to keep the dish light. This ribs were also served with the butter mashed potatoes and vegetables. My only issue with the dish was the European sized portion of the short ribs, which I am guessing was about three ounces. Although these were some of the better short ribs I have recently eaten, I was still hungry after licking my plate clean.
If you decide, you can upgrade your main dish to the shrimp scampi for an extra $12.95 or the fillet of beef for $13.95. I took a peek at other tables who ordered these upgrades. They looked delicious, although the portion sizes were geared towards light eaters. If you throw caution to the wind, if is really easy to upgrade and add-on yourself to a larger bill.
1000 Chip Chocolate Cake lived up to its name with dense chocolate cake layered with chocolate mouse and chocolate frosting. The exterior of the cake was heavily layered with mini chocolate chips, such that you can easily get chocolate chips in every single bite. Even though I was a little hungry from dinner, the chocolate cake set me over the top and I had a hard time standing up after.
After we finished up our main courses, the show began. For an hour and a half we were entertained by the Neil Simon classic play, “Rumors.” This comedy about high-society rumor mongering friends was well acted by community theater actors, who each had an impressive background. We were all entertained by the show and thought the acting was very convincing. We all laughed throughout the show and our friend who is in the performance industry thought that the caste did a great job.
My Final Thoughts
Encore Dinner theater has definitely made a big improvement, since I last visited. If you are looking for a fun date night or perhaps fun with friends, then I would definitely recommend you give Encore a try again. I thought that the food was delicious and the show entertaining.