Better than par
Country club dining is usually reserved for members only, but that’s not the case at this comfortable bistro in northeast Sparks. It might be a bit of a drive, but worth the effort if you’re looking for a bucolic setting and worthy fare. Facing the 18th green, the room has warm woods and forest colors inviting you into this club-like room with a full bar, where you can eat, or the dining room beyond or—more inviting—the shelter terrace outside with seating for 60.
Executive Chef Rene Preciado has managed the menu for three years and spent time working in other local kitchens honing his craft. Along with restaurant manager Anthony Annand, he brings his own interpretation of American cuisine to life in the kitchen. Pizzas ($9-$13), burgers and sandwich ($10-$15), pastas ($13-$25), salads ($4-$15), and certified Angus beef—prime rib and steaks ($16-$29)—make this a very complete menu and all of it prepared with a lot of flair.
This is a breakfast ($9-$14), lunch ($4-$15) and dinner ($6-$29) operation, seven days a week. The service is friendly and professional, and the wait staff is great at getting the job done without being too noticeable. They make you feel very comfortable.
Annand points out that “There’s a lot of support from the Wingfield community,” and that keeps the place vibrant and creative. I was there for dinner and had shrimp a la diabla ($12) as a starter: four jumbo prawns (tiger prawns—huge), chipotle sauce, and radish avocado relish on toast points.
It was a meal within itself, with a thick, savory, tomato-rich puree sitting atop freshly chopped and slightly seasoned avocados. This combined in my mouth with the textures of the shrimp and avocados coming together with the sauce and finishing with just a hint of heat tantalized the taste buds, calling for an encore.
I had a signature entree, pan-roasted center cut French pork loin chop ($19), with butter-glazed Fuji apple, candied bacon both covered with apple brandy-infused Bordelaise leaning on Peruvian mashed potatoes—special order potatoes from Peru yielding a creamier, mild, almost buttery texture—and the vegetable was delta asparagus, yellow and orange baby carrots. This chop had the bone in and was cooked to perfection, moist on the inside, and the flavor profile with the chef’s sauce was better than a hole-in-one. From the grilled Fuji apples to the candied bacon spouting from the potatoes, there were sweet, robust and savory textures—a lot going on to easily satisfy. The veggies were al dente with perfect seasoning.
I tasted the wild arugula and steak salad ($14). It was a grilled top sirloin with chef’s homemade pickled red onions atop, with a side of polenta sprinkled with Parmesan. Champagne vinaigrette topped the wild, organic baby arugula. The meat was grilled to medium rare. The polenta melted in my mouth and the tart salads with the course texture was tamed with the dressing complementing the entire offering.
The wine list is modest with a proper selection ($22-$85) with just about everything by-the-glass ($6-$12.75). I chose a glass of the 2011 Tabott Sleepy Hollow Pinot Noir Vineyard located in the Santa Lucia Highlands on the central coast of California. It’s barrel-aged 10 months in French oak, which gives it a full-bodied, rich texture with flavors of Bing cherry and red plum leading to a long finish with vanilla oak and lively acidity. It complemented the pork and that amazing sauce exceptionally well.
A piece of warm white chocolate bread pudding ($7) with French vanilla ice cream snuck up on me, and now I know what it would feel like to win the Masters—if only my golf game was that good.