The Gossiping Gourmet: A lighter alternative at Silver Trumpet

September 21, 2011|By Elle Harrow and Terry Markowitz
  • Silver Trumpet's vegetable cannellonis are prepared with roasted red peppers, toasted farro and seasonal mushrooms, all wrapped in zucchini.
Silver Trumpet's vegetable cannellonis are prepared… (KEVIN CHANG, HB…)

The latest addition to the restaurant scene around the Segerstrom Center for the Arts is the harmoniously named Silver Trumpet. Located in the Wyndham Orange County Hotel, the restaurant faces onto a small man-made lake surrounded by a huge courtyard, replete with grassy lawns, tall palms and abundant foliage.

Who knew? The charming patio is a lovely spot for dining on a warm evening.

Beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows framed in shining stainless steel dramatically open up the interior space. Gorgeous eco-friendly bamboo floors, a trumpet assemblage on the entry wall, black-and-white photos of musicians and display cases of musical instruments complete the themed décor.

The newly refurbished room is now the home of Chef Robert Bierbirch's modern seasonal California cuisine, which seems to mean, in addition to seasonal and local, lighter and healthier. He also believes in using sustainable, organic produce from their "symphony of local farmers," so the menu changes frequently.


We dined during Costa Mesa Restaurant week when the Trumpet featured a three-course prix-fixe menu, which they also do from time to time in coordination with special theater productions.

We began with a chicken consommé, dotted with a few little cubes of skin-on potato, sautéed leeks and a "truffle quail egg." The broth was very light and seemed to be salt-free. We saw the evidence of truffle oil in the broth, but we couldn't taste it. With the addition of a little salt, it made a delicate first course.

Our other appetizer was seared hamachi with a spice rub that overpowered the small pieces of fish. The tasting sized portion was accented with a garnish, which we quite liked — crunchy green apple batons and Vietnamese herbs tossed in a sweet and tangy coriander vinaigrette.

Chef Bierbirch has a predilection for broths, especially in his fish dishes. This is a lovely way to serve fish. Our moist juicy halibut came in an unusual and nuanced sweet onion broth perfumed with laurel and thyme.

The advertised corn pudding was nowhere in evidence, although our waitress said, "It is just a small bit that dissolves in the broth."

Could have fooled us, but we thought the dish was delicious without it.

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