This is an expanded review from ASG on Yelp... RESERVATIONS
Reservations are recommended, only because you cannot predict Temecula…plus, our concierge recommended reservations because of The Cave’s popularity. We found the same, and felt lucky that we were able to squeeze in mid-day. Please note that Oak Mountain uses Tock for its reservation system.
[And, bonus, as this had to have been the hottest day of the year, The Cave was recommended by our concierge because it was an easy respite from the heat. For that, we were grateful!]
We started off in the wine tasting area with a bottle of sweet, cold raspberry sparkling wine (it was a brutally hot day, so the colder the better). The server was quite friendly after we were called and chilled our bottle in an ice bucket as we enjoyed our food.
We started off with the Ahi Tartare - served with a heaping helping of avocado and cabbage along with wonton chips. I’m quite partial to the combination, so this was the highlight for my lunch. The umami of ahi, the sweetness of the dressing, and the crispness of the wontons was quite delightful. I was all about the cold dishes that day, so grateful for it.
That said, the Harvest Salad was a delight. You can tell some of the items were locally grown and combined in a tasteful combination of smoked bacon, big chunks of apples, cranberries, figs, blue cheese and, what I enjoyed most, were caramelized butternut squash. It did taste like a harvest salad - where I’ve been tried to be fooled before. (Just name the salad for what it is for chrissakes! :D)
For the entree we went with the Street Corn Flatbread. It was our ‘veggie’ day - so I think you are seeing a theme emerge. I don’t do flatbreads often, so this was a welcome warm entree for lunch. It had plenty of flavor, between the wood fired flatbread, the sweetness of the corn, the micro cilantro and a heaping helping of cilantro lime crema - came together quite well. And, delicious enough later back at the room, along with our Raspberry Sparkling wine.
Oak Mountain Winery is on the east-south edge of Temecula Wine Country - you won’t have a problem finding it, with its nice bold signage. There is plenty of parking, just make sure to give yourself enough time if you do have a timed reservation. The parking is tiered and can take a few minutes to navigate. Expect to take stairs to get to the entrance.
36522 Via Verde, Temecula, CA 92592
LAY OF THE LAND
Once you are on site, you’ll note that most of the facility is localized around its entrance. The Cave is quite deceptive, it starts with a quaint outdoor patio around its entrance (be warned, on hot days, outdoors is likewise hot). The entrance is the wine tasting area - two long bars that run along toward the restaurant. Make sure to make your entrance known, the wine servers are quite busy, so grab a bar top to get their attention.
Beyond the wine tasting area is an open format shop and restrooms. Beyond the double glass doors is The Cave. These ‘caves’ go back in several directions, walled on their sides with wine casks. I do recommend getting up and poking around, it is a bit of a unique layout. Having lunch or dinner underground is a bit of an experience itself.
ALL IN ALL
To our concierge’s suggestion, a wonderful outing on a quiet afternoon, on one of the hottest days of the year down in Temecula - so great call on her part. The ambience is chill, the service great and the food a solid offering.
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