A bit about me and my reviewing style: I eat out at least 7 meals a week, and I consider myself a bit of a foodie. I enjoy all ethnic, continental, and domestic types of food and don't discriminate based on a cooking style I might not enjoy. I review the food for exactly what it is. Price does not affect my decision unless it's a poor value.
A lot of people talk about the price of BSB as being too expensive. I will confirm that it is pricey (average $50 per person + drinks), but I don't think it's ""too expensive"" for what they are trying to pull off. The problem is that it's simply not executed well.
The decor was boring and did not look like it had been updated since 1994. The seats were hardwood without padding - NOT comfortable and inviting as they should be.
I found the dishes to be average at best.
The complimentary olives and bread are ho-hum and entirely uninspiring.
The goat cheese appetizer was unique, but I would not say it knocked my socks off. Flavor was acceptable but not great.
House salad was tasty. Very acceptable, but not extraordinary. Caesar salad was a total bust. It claims to have the chef's special recipe dressing, but it was lame lame lame.
Wife had Pato Mio (duck). She enjoyed it but said it was not her favorite duck ever. She gave her dish a 4 out of 5. I don't eat duck, so I can't rate it.
I had Borrego Borrego Borrego, one of the most famous dishes the restaurant offers. The chop was smaller than usual, a bit on the fatty side, and very underseasoned. The loin was certainly leaner and had marginally better flavor, but still underseasoned. The stew was by far the best thing on the plate, but I would still only give the stew a 3 out of 5. The other 2 preparations were 2 out of 5. Also, I ordered it cooked medium and it came out medium-well.
We tried to redeem the meal with the chef's special dessert ""La Fantasie"". We received a chocolate gateau, a berry tart, and their version of creme brulee.
The gateau was OK, and the sauce surrounding it was great. The creme brulee was also great. However the berry tart was NOT acceptable. The crust was rock hard and had no flavor, it hardly tasted home-made. The berries and cream inside were tart and unsweetened at all. Hardly what I would consider a dessert.
For being a lamb-centric restaurant that is highly Zagat rated, I was sorely disappointed with the lamb. I have had better lamb almost everywhere else I've had it.
I so desperately tried to find ways to save this review, as I really appreciate husband-wife restaurant teams. Alas, I must come to the conclusion that BSB is past its prime and does not deserve to be counted among OC's best establishments anymore.
A word to the chef: there's nothing wrong with putting a little extra flavor in the food!
A word to the servers: don't be so stiff. It's OK to be personable and get to know your table.
A word to the wife/host: smile every once in awhile and show some emotion. You looked upset, which does not put customers at ease.
Pros: Attentive, yet somehow unpersonable service
Cons: Food just isn't that good