The Saddleback Inn and Grill - A Review
My husband and I had heard that Lake Arrowhead's famous restaurant, the Saddleback Grill, is an experience not to be missed. In fact, we heard it was the best fine dining experience on the mountain, so we thought we would check it out on a recent visit to the Lake.
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The Saddleback Grill is nestled inside the Saddleback Inn. Upon entering, we passed the fireplace sitting area to the right of the front desk and walked toward the elegant dark wood bar to behold this fine restaurant. Although "The Saddleback Grill", sounds like a 'burger and fries' joint rather than a fine dining establishment, it is definitely the latter -- fine silverware, glasses, dishes, décor, atmosphere, intimacy and a ‘gourmet southwestern' theme.
We weren't sure what to expect from ‘gourmet southwestern' but we were definitely not disappointed. The Saddleback Grill is an eye-catching and stylish restaurant with flair. After being seated near a window with views of the trees surrounding Lake Arrowhead, we were approached by our server.
We love Lake Arrowhead, but the wine lists in the area often disappoint - happily, this is not so with the Saddleback Grill. With over 150 different blends of wines from all regions in The Grill's wine box, it was way more than we expected, and the owner of the Grill personally helped guide us through the list.
Our server seemed a bit of a historian too, as she chatted with us about the famous past of The Saddleback Inn. She told us the story of the two sisters who moved to the area in 1919 to build their dream house, and that that ultimately came to be what is the Saddleback today. The Inn has a long, rich history of celebrity clients, which is why some of the rooms are named for famous people, like Howard Hughes and others who have actually stayed at The Saddleback over the years.
With a menu full of scrumptious gourmet meals, including less common dishes like Oso Buco and trout, it took my husband and I some time to decide what to order. We decided on a Saddleback Grill appetizer ‘favorite' - the Southwestern Ahi Tuna - first. The ahi had just the right amount of spice around the edges - not overly hot, and not bland. I like spicy, but my husband likes things less so, and the Ahi was delicious, and almost too 'pretty' to eat.
For the main course, we each ordered the Salmon on Risotto as we kind of decided on a seafood theme for the evening and we both love salmon. We figured, if they mess it up, we'll know, because we're kind of salmon "afficionado's". It was full of flavor, juicy, and absolutely delicious. Perfectly cooked, tender, and the portions were just right; the risotto was moist and fluffy and not sticky; we enjoyed every bite. Southwestern gourmet is definitely here to stay in Lake Arrowhead.
Since any weekend away from the city is a celebration as far as we're concerned, we chose the Flourless Chocolate Cake for dessert. It was almost like eating fudge -- a melt-in-your-mouth experience.
In our experience, the Saddleback Grill is the restaurant to dine at in Lake Arrowhead. There were a wide variety of dining choices (so we both ordered salmon! Go figure...), the food was delicious, the service outstanding. Our evening at The Saddleback Grill was excellent. On our next trip to Arrowhead, we plan on staying at The Saddleback, in one of the cabins! You can drink your entire bottle of wine with dinner and then walk to your cabin nestled in the woods!
Judy and Jim March