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At Morton’s, a Snake River Farm 10-ounce New York Medallion and Prime Dry Aged Cajun Ribeye marinated for 48 hours with au gratin potato, asparagus, mashed potato and Brussels sprouts. Photo by Frank Mangio
Columns Taste of Wine

Taste of Wine: Experience an old-world, Chicago-style steakhouse at Morton’s

Old world Chicago-style steakhouses is what Morton’s The Steakhouse prides itself on.  Across the world, 73 cities get to partake in their 40-year history of making “The Best Steak Anywhere!” Technical Director Rico Cassoni and I enjoyed a dinner that we are recounting as “Over the Top Excellence.” Assistant Manager Vasili Konstan and server Joseph Lucenti were amazingly attentive and gracious hosts.

We started with St. Michelle Riesling and prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella. Something to note, Morton’s menu is intentionally sparse with descriptions. Morton’s prides itself on exceptionally trained servers knowing every detail of the menu. Joseph and Vasili answered our myriad questions throughout the evening!

Emilio Nares Foundation CEO Karen Terra, left, with Diane Nares at the Harvest for Hope fundraiser. Photo by Frank Mangio

Next up was Baked Ocean platter featuring Sea Scallops, Crab Cake, Grilled Oysters and Shrimp Alexander. Every bite succulent. Not being able to make a decision on soup and salad, Vasili insisted that we  sample the Lobster Bisque, Baked French Onion soup, wedge salad and Burrata Salad. Again, everything five-star. Perhaps a nonexistent “six-star” for the out of this world French Onion soup.

We were impressed with the exceptional wine list that included a high-end Coravin Wine by the Glass menu. Some of the wines we enjoyed from this list included Antica, Cab Sauvignon and Schrader, Double Diamond Cab Sauvignon. For those not familiar with the Coravin preservation system, it allows high end restaurants to pour exceptional wines by the glass keeping wines fresh for several days and is anticipated by a Wine Spectator “Award of Excellence” establishment. Morton’s maintains a worldwide collection of 150 wines at all locations with some locations having 300 to 500 wines. Don’t worry if you want to bring in your own special bottle of wine, Morton’s allows two bottles to be opened with a nominal $35 corkage fee each.

The main show — Morton’s steak! We had an Idaho-raised Snake River Farm 10-ounce New York Medallion and Prime Dry Aged Cajun Ribeye. It had perfect marbling and flavoring and buffet of sides. We finished our “Over the Top Excellence” dinner with Grand Marnier soufflé and port. Visit at

Harvest for Hope Recap

This is a follow to our Sept. 22 column that focused on Harvest for Hope. As a reminder, this fundraising event was started by Richard and Diane Nares who lost their son after a three-year battle with cancer when he passed away at 5 years old.

They launched the Emilio Nares Foundation (ENF) in San Diego that spread throughout the county and is now available in  Orange County with hopes of reaching Los Angeles. 

ENF has provided and continues to provide resources and support with its flagship Ride With Emilio transportation program ensuring that no child misses life-saving cancer treatment due to lack of transportation. More than 986 families have been supported with some 94,924 miles of rides. Technical Director Rico mentioned it was one of the most heartfelt charity events he has ever attended.

Eighteen wineries and wine-related companies plus some 18 restaurants and a craft beer sponsor donated their products and services including Morton’s. A highlight of the show was cancer survivor Amy Burkman, who created a live on the spot painting that was auctioned for $4,000. To learn more about the foundation or donate, visit, or contact Katie Khasim at (858) 571-3328.

Wine Bytes

• Our hearts go out to Sonoma Country vineyards and wineries who have been battling the Kincade wildfire and loss of electricity for the past two weeks, especially Soda Rock winery in Healdsburg that was consumed by the wildfires.

• West End Bar and Kitchen in Del Mar is hosting a “Dinner with Huneeus Family wineries featuring Quintessa” at 6 p.m. Nov. 21 at $75 per person. The Huneeus family dedicates itself on capturing the beauty and harmony through organically and biodynamically farmed and harvested wines. RSVP at (858) 259-5878.

• Wine Vault & Bistro in San Diego is presenting a Ridge Winemaker Dinner No. 1 with Winemaker Eric Baugher from 5 to 8 p.m. Nov. 17 featuring Ridge’s Zin and Zin blends paired with braised pork, grilled steak, and roasted duck. Cost is $75 per person. RSVP at (619) 295-3939.


Bob Hines November 13, 2019 at 9:55 pm

Wish there was a Morton’s in North County.

Bob Hines November 13, 2019 at 9:38 pm

Agree. But next time you go to Las Vegas, go the Lowry’s Prime Rib restaurant. That’s #1, Morton’s #2.

Robert Hines November 5, 2019 at 9:46 pm

Morton’s is the best!

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