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SeaLegs Wine Bar – Intersection of Hip Wine Bar and Upscale Gastropub

SeaLegs Wine Bar – Intersection of Hip Wine Bar and Upscale Gastropub

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SeaLegs Wine Bar is one of the hottest new restaurants /wine bars in Orange County

I recently visited SeaLegs Wine Bar for the first time to see what all the fuss was about, after they were nominated for the 2013 Golden Foodie Awards, Best New Restaurant. During my visit, I discovered that SeaLegs Wine Bar is not only a hip wine bar, but also one of the better restaurants that I have experienced in Orange County. The restaurant is the passion project of owners Alicia Whitney and Lisa Nonemaker escaped the corporate world to “focus on what really matters — good wine (bubbles!), beer, food, and chocolate.” Together the navigated their dream from fantasy to real success. 

Enter the raffle on the bottom of this post to wine a $25 gift certificate to SeaLegs Wine Bar.

This Isn’t your Momma’s Wine Bar

DSCN1135 300x225 If you come to SeaLegs looking for a quiet place to huddle with your friends over wine while listening to  Michael Bolton’s greatest hits, then this isn’t your wine bar.  Located  just minutes away  from Downtown Huntington Beach, Sealegs Wine Bar offers a hip,  yet classy alternative to the Main Beach hang outs. With modern music playing overhead, you can enjoy some really good wines and “California Tapas” with friends in a fun environment. The ambiance is also dark enough to be romantic. I personally observed quite a few couples having a good time on dates; I even  noticed a couple of people making a connection over wine.

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The interior is decorated with dark woods, warm lights and has a subtle resemblance to New England design, but splashed with California cool. The glass-walled  2000  bottle wine cellar spans the entire length of the bar and rises from floor to ceiling. Aside from their expansive wine collection, they also served a nice collection of craft beer on tap and bottle. 

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Wine and Food

DSCN10901 Sealegs Wine Bar had an impressive wine menu,by the glass and bottle; although, the food stole the show. The menu is set up as “California tapas”, essentially generously portioned small plates that are meant for sharing among table mates.  When I visited SeaLegs Wine Bar we tried the wine pairing dinner. By the time we finished, we were stuffed and feeling happy. The wine pairing menu was a great way experience a solid sampling of their food and wine:  Here is what we ordered:

Wine Pairing Dinner Round One DSCN10971 212x300 Fragrant Snare Chardonnay Blend, Paso Robles – This was a lovely wine made with 50% chardonnay, 20% Gewurztraminer, 20% Muscat and 10% Viognier. The wine had a nose of tropical and citrus fruit blossoms. The mouth was of sweet stone fruit and cloves. The wine had a slight tingle and was remarkably balanced considering the amount of sweet grapes. It was a perfect match for the food accompaniments

SeaLegs Summer Salad:  This salad is made with arugula, strawberries, oranges, figs, feta, candied walnuts, with a rose white balsamic vinaigrette. This was a nicely balanced salad with a clean finish.

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SeaLegs Wine Bar Summer Salad had nutty, sweet and citric notes

Lump Crab Cakes – Two crab cakes the size of my palm were served with a with lemon tarragon aioli and micro celery. I liked the flavor and density of real crab in these cakes. When I cut the cakes open I could see that they were made of mostly crab, no fillers here.  The light  and fruity chardonnay blend was a nice accompaniment to the creamy crab cake.

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SeaLegs Wine Bar prosciutto lump crab cakes two are served in an order, although they are so good you wish you had three

 

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Zotovich  Estate Syrah, Santa Barbara – This wine had a nose of spice, berries, wild flower and  pepper. The mouth of the wine had flavors of blackberries, spices,  and had a slight edge on the finish.

 

Drunken Forest Mushroom Crostini: Forest  -Fresh mushrooms were sautéed in Chianti and mixed with Asiago cheese, micro basil,  herb oil served atop toasted points. This plate was a savory play on crostini, with the nutty flavors of the mushrooms spiced with the reduced Chianti. I liked the nutty edge of the Asiago against the mushrooms and toasted points. This dish definitely played well with the Zotovich.

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Truffle Mac and Cheese:  This adult style mac and cheese delivered big flavors through the combination of three types of cheese and truffle oil.  The cheddar provided the creamy texture and flavor to the dish. The blue cheese provided to umphh to the dish and the mozzarella provided some elasticity to the texture. The truffle oil added an ever-present umami nose to the finish of dish. The white cheddar crust on top added the right amount of course texture to keep this dish interesting well past my fourth serving. The Syrah did a great job at breaking up the rich flavors and textures of this dish by adding light tannins and hints of berry to cleanse the palate.

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SeaLegs Wine Bar prosciutto wrapped asparagus

 

Wine Pairing Dinner Rounds Three

DSCN11201 225x300 Force of Nature Cabernet Sauvignon, Rob Murray Vineyards , Paso Robles- This was a very impressive wine with a nose of black berry, caramel soft-chews. The flavor was of chocolate, wild raspberry, cranberry  pine and mineral. 

 

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus:  slightly crunchy grilled asparagus are wrapped in prosciutto and topped with roasted tomato, pine nuts, lemon juice. This dish technically sounds great, although it was too salty to be properly enjoyed.  Our waitress explained that this dish was not normally that salty and offered us a replacement, but I declined because I was already getting full.

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SeaLegs Wine Bar prosciutto wrapped asparagus – only weak link in the meal from over salting

 

Marinated Flank Steak: A strip of flank steak is marinated in a Korean  style marinade called bulgogi, which consists of soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic. I was expecting Korean BBQ flavor, instead I tasted was a well-seasoned flank steak that placed the flavors of natural beef on the forefront on my palate. The sweet, salty and savory accents merely support the steak’s flavor. It was served with mirin glazed Brussels’s sprouts and pickled onions.  The Force of Nature Cab was a perfect pair for this dish as it helped cut through the flavors. This was my favorite dish of the night.

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SeaLegs Wine Bar Marinated Flank Steak – Nicely executed

 

Dessert

20130719 224121 181x300 Salt of the Earth , Flore De Moscato  – San Joaquin Valley  –  This is a sweet dessert wine with balance. The nose of the wine was sweet of macerated peaches, pineapple, and honeysuckle. I tasted flavors of baked peaches, sweet plums, ripe pineapple, tartar and coarse brown sugar. This is a sweet wine but it was balanced with rounded edges.

 

Bananas Foster French Toast:  This is s fun play on French toast that is made with house made brioche and topped with bananas fosters style flambéed bananas, walnuts, cinnamon rum and caramel sauce. The dish was  topped with a scoop French vanilla ice cream. I could eat this all day. Overall I was very impressed by the quality of food and wine at SeaLegs Wine Bar. 

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I learned why WineLegs has been receiving fanfare and awards. I really enjoyed the wine selection, delicious food and genuinely friendly service.  Probably the only detractor of this restaurant is the noise level can get a bit loud during the dinner rush. With that said, the noise didn’t really bother me as I was not attempting to have a serious conversation, but rather enjoying the atmosphere and people watching.  I plan on coming back to SeaLegs, as I fell in love with their food and wine selection. I just wish I discovered this place a little sooner.

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SeaLegs Wine Bar Retail Shop

 

SeaLegs Wine Bar 

http://www.sealegswinebar.com/

21022 Beach Blvd Huntington Beach, CA 92648

(714) 536-5700

Monday-Thursday 4pm-11:30pm

Friday & Saturday 11:30am -11:30pm

HAPPY HOUR – Monday-Friday 4pm- 6pm

Sunday 11am-10pm (Champagne Brunch from 11-3pm, regular dinner menu after 3pm on Sundays)

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SeaLegs Wine Bar Gift Card Giveaway

I asked the owner of the restaurant if she was interested in doing a gift card giveaway to my readers and she agreed. I am of the thought process that if I gush over a restaurant, I should get my reader’s opinion as well to validate my experiences.  I will be running a five-day raffle for (1) $25 gift card to SeaLegs. This should be enough to cover some wine and a small plate. If you win, let me know about your experience. Although the gift card was provided as a give away to my readers, the opinions expressed in this post are purely my own, based on a delicious meal. See my disclosure statement in my About page.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Tom Holmberg

Tom grew up in a cultural diverse neighborhood and a culturally diverse family, so he has learned to appreciate all types of food. "I am not a Chef, nor do I play one on T.V., but I have learned to appreciate food from years of eating and cooking." Tom also spent 10 years in the restaurant industry in various roles, from Prep Cook to server.

33 comments

  1. I want to try the Salt of the Earth, Flore de Moscato wine. I love sweet dessert wines so this really interests me. Of course I didn’t read anything that didn’t make my mouth water. I’ll have to try this place soon.

  2. Albert Quackenbush

    My favorite item was the bananas foster french toast, but the Zotovich Estate Syrah sounds fantastic!

  3. Been drooling over this place for a while. This would be just the push I need to get over there!

  4. Tom,
    Your pictures literally are making me hungry! I love how you’ve formatted this article, it is easy to read and very informative. I wish I could take a plane and try out some of that prosciutto wrapped asparagus. Looks amazing.

  5. I absolutely love wine bars.. The food looks delish as well..

  6. Two words! Absolutely Scrumptious! :-)

  7. Looks as though we’ll have to take a trip to Orange County next time I go toSan Diego.

  8. I just love a grand upscale dining experience! The pictures are wonderful!

    Yvonne Brown

  9. coming off a baja vacation i am thirsty for some drinks and good food!

  10. The food and wine all sound fantastic. Looks like a place to go to have a nice evening.

  11. I have not have a good crab cake in a long time.
    Thank you for the reminder

  12. Beautif!

  13. It cut me off. I was saying Beautiful place and Beautiful food!

  14. Everything looked YUMMY!!!! I’ll take the Summer Salad

  15. This looks like so much fun!

  16. my mouth is watering just looking at those pictures!

  17. Looks like a lot of fun and great food!!!!

  18. You always have such great pics to go along with your story!

  19. That summer salad looked lovely!

  20. Wow….this looks so good and what great images too!

  21. OH my.. your pictures and the food looks so good I cannot choose a favourite !
    Perhaps the Sealegs salad or the crab legs..
    Great review

  22. Karen Langston Nutritionist Specializing in Crohn's Disease

    Wow! Thank goodness they are not piping out Michael Bolton… I would seriously have to pass this up.
    SeaLegs Wine Bar looks like a modern and sophisticated place to enjoy a good bottle of Chianti. eat some well thought out food and enjoy the company of some girlfriends or a romantic night with the love-of-my-life.
    I am adding this to my list of places to experience!
    Thanks for the great post and attention to detail!
    What are their gluten free options like? Do they cater to those with food allergies?

  23. We were wondering about that place… thank you for the great review!!! OC restaurants must LOVE you :)

  24. This makes me want to go back to HB and try this place out! It looks delicious!

  25. OK, now — that looks like my kinda place!

  26. beautiful place and beautiful food! wine with everything that’s what i say!

  27. There are so many items here I would love to try. And Huntington Beach is not that far from me. :)

  28. Laurie Hagedorn

    This place looks divine and delish! I can see myself hanging out there! :)

  29. Sounds divine! Just finished vicariously enjoying the wine pairing! Thank you!

  30. i’ve never been, but those mushroom crostini are calling my name!

  31. The Truffle Mac and Cheese looks (and sounds!) amazing!

  32. I’m a bananas foster person, but it all looks good!

  33. I am a big fan of yours, Tom.

    Just finished my summer school class and received a 100%! I am going back to school for a third college degree.

    Would love to go to SeaLegs Wine Bar to celebrate.

    Good luck to all! :)

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