Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tierra Sur Restaurant - Oxnard, CA

Devon and I drove to Oxnard for a birthday celebration recently and we enjoyed a very nice dinner at Tierra Sur Restaurant inside Herzog Wine Cellars.  The restaurant serves Mediterranean-influenced seasonal cuisine using local produce under the management of Chef Todd Aarons. It has a nice atmosphere and appears to be one of the happening places in Oxnard. We arrived in the middle of the winery's pick-up party for wine club members. The parking lot was full and the tasting room was over-flowing with people enjoying tastes of the wines they were there to pick up.

Using Open Table is a good idea to get a reservation at Tierra Sur. And you will want to make a special note of the restaurant hours; they are different from other restaurants:
Sunday through Thursday lunch is served from 11:30 to 2:30, and dinner is served from 5:00 to 8:00. On Friday only lunch is served from 11:30 to 2:30.  No dinner is served on Friday and no lunch or dinner is served on Saturday.

The lunch and dinner menus have very nice selections on them as well as their prix fixe wine tasters dinner with wine pairings for each course. We started with their freshly baked bread and garlic oil. It was light, with a crispy crust and I ate most of it!  Devon had a glass of the 2009 Herzog Special Reserve Chardonnay, Russian River with an entree of sauteed Sea Bass over beet ravioli stuffed with celery root puree. The menu entree featured an Alaskan Halibut, but they substituted a Sea Bass entree - for the Halibut! The Sea Bass was very large and she took some home with her. Devon said her dinner "was outstanding."

I ordered a bottle of the Herzog Wine Cellars 2008 Herzog Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley (to share) and the Lamb Chop/Ham over lentils and with lovage. I had to try the lamb because I missed out on tasting their lamb dish paired with the Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon at the Local Food & Wine Challenge in Ventura last month.  

OK, to make up for missing this pairing I can now add a 5 out of 5 score to the mix (assuming the one I missed was just as good) and that would have made the total Herzog-Tierra Sur score an 8.5, or 3rd Place - CONGRATULATIONS! It was a really tough competition and difficult to select a winner.

The pairing of the Cabernet Sauvignon with the lamb and the lentils was really super.  I ordered the 4 lamb chops cooked "medium" and although I tend to usually like most meats cooked "medium-well" this preparation was very good and not overly red.

A birthday dessert appeared with a lit candle on top at the end of our meal. It was the G√Ęteau d' Ariel, a flowerless chocolate cake with raspberry sauce and topped with whipped cream. I'm glad I still had a glass of the cabernet, because the two went very well together.

I think you'll enjoy dining at this restaurant and drinking their wine.  Other fine wines were also available as well as a nice list of liquor and beer.

Wine Descriptions from Herzog Wine Cellars
 2009 Herzog Special Reserve Chardonnay, Russian River 
This Chardonnay was barrel and stainless steel fermented and then aged in French and American Oak for 15 months. This cool, terroir-oriented wine shows elegant top notes of lime, chamomile and tropical fruit overlaid with a bouquet of toasty oak. ($9/glass at the restaurant, $36/btl at the Herzog Online Store)


2008 Herzog Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley
This Cabernet leans more toward the French style of red wines with its emphasis on terroir. Note the dark fruit tones balanced with a delightful minerality. Exhibits berry, cherry, and earthy flavors characteristic of this region’s wines. Aging 18 months in oak barrel contributes to layers of mocha and vanilla. ($50/btl at the restaurant, $38/btl at the Herzog Online Store)