Afternoon Delight

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Posted May 28, 2009 in Eats

I never understood the dichotomous coexistence of upscale bistro with blue collar suburbia, but that changed after a late afternoon tryst at At My Place, located in that fuzzy area of western Corona where pavement turns to barren hillsides. Entering the premises, deafening music assailed my ears while four flat panel TVs were glued to a mélange of the day’s sporting news—all this cacophony on a rather slow Sunday afternoon. Fortunately, this purgatorial location suited the chaos of the occasion.

 

At My Place is the reimagined former City Grille, a once family-friendly eatery turned fancy-pants lounge for aging thirty- or fortysomethings. In the present incarnation, they’ve incorporated dueling pianists on extended weekends, live music seven nights a week, Sunday brunch and an overabundance of themed-nights to back up a lightweight and fairly overpriced menu of grilled pizzas, pasta (claimed to be homemade), meat and assorted seafood dishes. The saving grace here is the assortment of tapas offered at reasonable prices during the daily happy hour. At the bargain basement price of 3 for $15 (3 for $24 at other times), the smaller-sized portions offer friendly glimpses at the Place’s eclectic menu without necessarily breaking the bank. 

 

My pick of the list definitely goes to the lobster rolls, which are deep fried and served atop garlic mashed potatoes covered by a buttery scampi sauce flecked with fresh asparagus pieces. The lobster rolls themselves do seem a tad bit under-seasoned, but the plate sits well as part of its fancy-pants redo. As a second plate, the slider trio definitely hits the spot and seems to be a personal favorite with the wait staff. The three tender and tasty mini-burgers are topped alternatively with feta cheese, sweet barbecue sauce with grilled red onions and a blue cheese dressed version with all the fixings. 

 

Highly touted but probably the least liked on my list is the potato wrapped salmon, a blandly seasoned block of fleshy salmon topped with a few leaflets of sautéed spinach and pesto sauce. It’s mounted on a bed of dry lemon risotto that lacks any citrus tang. While cooked most perfectly in texture, the salmon disappoints and holds none of the pizzazz I’d expect for a purported client favorite. Other plates offered both as a tapas and regular menu item include the miso sake sea bass ($25 regularly) and the grilled barbecue chicken and cilantro pizza ($12 a la carte). 

 

While the tapas offer an interesting tasting venture, the pastas are pure and simply rich. At the median price range is the penne and Italian sausage ($13), a force to be reckoned with since it sits heavy on the gut. The cream sauce is flecked with generous amounts of parsley, undeniably buttery, but non-existent on the heat and garlic meter. 

 

With $5 martinis and a generous offering of plates to go with it (approx. $38 dinner for two), I’m content to say that At My Place does have one of the better happy hours in town. At least, it’s a great way to try the different menu items, but still be relatively protected should your investment hit rock bottom.

 

At My Place, 1180 El Camino Road, Ste. 116, Corona, (951) 270-5062; www.atmyplace.com, Happy Hour Sun-Thur, 2-7PM, Fri-Sat, 2-6PM; AE, D, M, V.


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