twenty/20 grill and wine bar / carlsbad, ca
Recently I was invited to go all the way up to Carlsbad land to check out a place called Twenty/20. It’s right next door to Legoland. When you pull into the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa (Twenty/20 one of those fancy hotel restaurants, after all) you can spy the different attractions down in Legoland without actually going to Legoland. Since I’m not under the age of 12, Legoland has very little hold over me, though S (who was along for the adventure) seemed a tad sad to see Legoland without stepping through it’s hallowed gates. Poor S. Maybe some other time.
Here’s a peek at the dining lounge with it’s nice open air feel. Jake, S and I hadn’t been sitting at our table for too long before Jinxi popped over to say hi – she was there with S for dinner at the same time! We decided to immediately join forces and dine together since it’s just more fun that way.
Twenty/20 has their menu available online so I’ll be lazy and only link to that and spare you from trying to make out tiny text in a photo. Instead, here’s a look at their happy hour offerings. 1/2 off tapas isn’t a bad deal if you ask me!
[maple bacon bourbon and colorado tin cup mule / $11 each]
Jake and I each had a drink. I don’t usually get one but I decided to indulge and get one this time. Can you guess who got what?
If you guessed that Jake got the one with bacon in it, then you are a very smart cookie. I had a little sip of his drink (a concoction of Knob Creek Bourbon and bacon infused maple syrup) and all I can tell you is that it was incredibly smoky. Almost like smoke inhalation smoky! I felt it was a bit overpowering. My Colorado Tin Cup Mule (which was mixed with Tin Cup Whiskey, ginger beer, bitters and an orange twist) was much more mellow and enjoyable to me. Plus, anything served to you in a tin cup will make it taste a thousand times better. It’s a tin cup rule. Try it sometime.
Jake ordered S his first Shirley Template so he could feel fancy with the grown-ups and their crazy drinks. Two cherries, man. That’s extra special, even if you’re a non-cherry lover like me.
[bread & butter]
They put herbs in their butter and that makes me love them. I had to reign it on the bread because I seriously wanted to eat the whole loaf. It was warm and crusty bread which makes me go weak in the knees but I had to save myself for the rest of the food. They gave us one loaf to share between all of five of us, but it was for the best.
Chef Julian Quinones came out to speak to us to offer us two different dining options. He had a three course menu available or let us order anything we wanted off the menu. Jinxi went with the three course meal while the rest of us mutinied and planned our own meals.
[fruit & tomato salad]
Even though only Jinxi got the three course meal, Chef Quinones decided to give us all the starter. It was a simple salad with pickled honeydew, pickled cantaloupe, compressed watermelon, heirloom tomatoes and a basil vinaigrette (which I didn’t detect that much). I’m sure you can deduce why I didn’t want to go the prix fix route already – my dislike of anything pickled. But, I figured I’d try it at least and well, my mind still hasn’t changed. The pickling flavor was quite light on the honeydew and cantaloupe, but still too vinegary for me. The compressed watermelon was excellent though and make the fruit juicier and more flavorful.
[wild mushroom toast with truffle ricotta, arugula and herb oil / $10]
I spied mushrooms on the menu! Pair it with truffle ricotta and toast and you’ve sold me.
I pretty much thew out the arugula so I could focus in on my three favorite things together, all in one bite. This was heavenly and I was incredibly happy to stuff this into my mouth. I stole a little honey from Jake and S’s charcuterie board which made it even more divine. My only wish was for a little more ricotta to be smeared on the bread.
Also: I ate all of this. By myself. It made me full, but I felt it was worth it.
[cheese & charcuterie board / $14]
Jake and I shared this and I honestly didn’t have a lot of it since I was distracted by my beloved mushroom dish. S was thrilled to have some brie though and I know they both enjoyed the meats and cheese. I think I stole a few walnuts. I was surprised there was no fruit component on the board.
[grilled flat iron steak with potato puree, roasted vegetables, red onion jam and red wine sauce / $30]
The boys were set on both getting the same thing so I got something slightly different: the flat iron steak. I asked for it medium rare and they delivered with a nice pinkness on the inside. The steak was tender and tasted nice with the red wine sauce. My favorite part was the potato puree though, which was silky smooth and buttery.
I had forgotten to ask but I think I had roasted carrots and parsnips, maybe? I hadn’t seen anything quite that dark in color before but they had a pleasant, almost sweet flavor.
[bone-in rib eye with roasted onion-potato gratin, brussel sprouts, bordelaise wine sauce / $50]
When I originally got the invitation and asked if I could bring one of Jake’s sons, the PR lady said it was okay and that he could order off the kid’s menu. S had been looking at the dinner menu earlier in the day and was getting quite excited about trying the steak and his face fell when I told him about the kid’s menu. He felt the kid’s menu was much too boring so when we were at the dinner we asked the chef if S could order a “real” dinner and the chef said it was okay. S was pretty excited for this!
I don’t blame him really. I mean… look at this thing. It’s gigantic. Imagine your 12 year old self getting served this giant 20oz steak! S has really been into food lately, watching cooking shows and practicing cooking, so it was really fun to take him here and really experience some good food. He even enjoyed the brussel sprouts! Not something I can claim, but all the better for him.
They both got their steaks medium rare and Jake let me have a few bites. I liked it more than my flat iron since it has some juicier bits and that lovely outer char.
This was Jinxi’s dessert and she let me take a photo of it and have a bite of it. The hazelnut torte was soft, smooth, creamy and delicate but also very rich. I’m sure the fruit helped to break up the sweetness a bit!
[mini dessert tower]
For the rest of us, they presented us with a little dessert tower. They explain all of the desserts and then leave the tower there. You can choose to eat some, all, or none of the desserts. They just leave it up to you.
Their dessert style reminds me of Seasons 52 with their little shot glasses of desserts, but the desserts here are lacking. I took a bite of a few of these desserts but none of them stood out to me. They seemed more like an afterthought or a cafeteria treat. While it’s a cute idea to have the mini desserts, they didn’t taste all that great. The hazelnut torte was a much better idea than the dessert tower.
All in all though we all enjoyed our meal and especially the company!
Twenty/20 Grill and Wine Bar
5480 Grand Pacific Dr.
Carlsbad, CA 92008
Disclaimer: I was invited to dine at Twenty/20 and our meal was complimentary. I was not further compensated and all opinions stated here are my own.