Food & Drink
SoCal sports-bar fixture looks to woo fans in Dr. Phillips
Published: September 5, 2012
The restaurant space at 7958 Via Dellagio Way inside the sprawling Dellagio Town Center may very well be this city's newest jinxed locale. In early 2010, Urban Flats opened, only to be replaced a year later by the Manny Garcia-Tony Pace flop CityFire, which was duly extinguished a year after opening. Now comes Miller's Field, a left-coast establishment looking to make its mark on the East Coast with an upscale sports bar aesthetic designed to cater to both jocks and gourmands. On entering, we weren't greeted by the auditory roar typical of sports bars on weekend nights, but by sweet female voices all too ready to usher us to a high-top table. Immediately noticeable were the number of families and children gathered here. This being Dr. Phillips, I suppose it's not so surprising. Also hard to miss: the signature sports ticker running the length of one wall. The ticker, certainly, is a unique feature of the decor, but it seems a bit lonely without a concomitant 100-plus-inch projection screen. Still, there are about 50 HD televisions to go along with about 50 menu items – which, at first blush, appear to be a notch above the standard
Ale House-type fare.
Our indifferent server didn't seem to know very much about the craft beers on offer, nor was it stated that they can be enjoyed in 32-ounce Mason jars if one so wishes. So we drank our Stella drafts – not served in chalices, I might add – and dove into a basket of Thai sweet chili and sriracha-lime chicken wings ($8.50 for 10). The wings were a decent start to our meal, quickly followed by fried calamari ($9.50) given a sweet kick with Peppadew peppers and that same Thai sweet chili. But their aim of pleasing the "sporting and culinary enthusiast" fell well short with a pairing of Little League World Series reruns and their margherita pizza ($13). The thoroughly average pie that hit our table, while abundant in basil, lacked the blistered texture common to brick-oven pizzas. (The brick oven, by the by, is the same one Urban Flats and CityFire employed to churn out their own ho-hum pies.)
Signature tenderloin tips ($13.50) were resoundingly bad in both flavor and texture. Not even a messy heap of slaw, onions, garlic, peppers and spices (additional $2.50) could mask the unpalatable taste of these lamentable morsels. A side of overdone fries and over-battered onion rings ($4.50) had us rapidly losing faith in this kitchen, but redemption was offered in the form of an Italian sausage sandwich ($8.50), another signature item. The Bari sausage was the clear star, topped with onions, peppers and red sauce. Miller's deserves credit for sourcing quality (though not local) meat, like the Bari sausages and Harris Ranch burgers.
Of the house-made desserts, we opted for the quartet of shooters dubbed "The Miller's Horsemen" ($8). Of the four, only two – chocolate cake soaked in Jack Daniels, and butterscotch mousse drenched in Jameson caramel – elicited a positive reaction. Like the restaurant in general, the Jim Beam apple crisp and the Jose Cuervo Key lime shooter were largely forgettable.
Nothing really differentiates Miller's Field from the other sports bars of its kind – not the food, not the ubiquitous boob tubes, not the sporty-garbed servers and certainly not the menu. Its inconsistent lineup of hits, duds and also-rans is, for the most part, what one would expect, but for "sporting and culinary enthusiasts," Miller's is no field of dreams.
7958 Via Dellagio Way
> Email Faiyaz Kara