Reinventing your restaurant when you are already hugely successful and well known is a task few would undertake. Leave it to a Knight to have the fearlessness to attempt this. Recently knighted Chef-Owner Bruno Seratoto decided that revamping the menu of the Anaheim White House was the path he was called to take. Taking on the challenge of turning his restaurant into an Italian Steakhouse brought out the creative juices in Chef Bruno and what he created was a unique that is unlike any other in Southern California.
“I wanted to do an Italian steakhouse because I wanted people to realize we eat fish and meat, I was tired of hearing people think an Italian restaurant only serves pasta and pizza, although we still serve amazing pasta,” Chef Bruno said.
Chef Bruno succeeded in creating a menu that has cuts of beef that are as fine as any in the United States to go along with fish that is so fresh that Chef Bruno doesn’t even bother going out for sushi anymore. No he just enjoys what fresh fish catches that are in his kitchen everyday.
When you dine at the Anaheim White House you don’t just ask for a steak, this menu is far too eclectic for that. Where to begin? An easy choice would be the Wagyu Steak, who could pass up the close relative of Kobe Beef, the only difference is where it came from, and the difference in taste is negligible at most. The Wagyu would be the easy choice, but dig a little further into the menu for the best choice, the roasted bison. First off you are not going to find bison on many menus, so take the opportunity to give it a try. Secondly the bison from North Dakota is incredibly smooth and tender and Chef Bruno manages to enhance the flavor with the addition of hickory smoked bacon. Finally to round out the trifecta of beef is the venison rack. A bit more robust and full-flavored than the other two, the venison was made to go with a nice glass of red wine. My suggestion is keep coming back to the Anaheim White House until you try all three and you can choose for yourself which cut is the best.
Chef Bruno made sure not skimp on his pasta dishes despite all of the new additions to the menu. You certainly can’t go wrong with any variety of pasta on the menu, but if you are looking for something unique and that you will be talking about long after your dining experience is done, the bucatini con gamberi is a must try. This is thick pasta with a hollow center and it is one of those pastas that when you take a bit you know you are eating a real pasta and you are left wondering what that so-called pasta you have been eating over the years. While the texture of this pasta is truly amazing, it is the flavor that gets you. Chef Bruno incorporates soy sauce directly into the pasta; it does not overwhelm you but gives you a great Asian flavor with each bit. The pastas combined with the sautéed pacific shrimp leaves you with a great blend of flavors that will take your taste buds wanting more and more.
So many amazing choices and we have not even gotten to the signature dish of the White House. Created by Chef Bruno and I’m sure soon to be copied by many is the white chocolate salmon. The description might conjure up many visions in your mind but it is plated beautifully with a piece of perfectly steamed salmon on a bed of Belgium white chocolate mashed potato puree. Don’t expect to be overwhelmed by the white chocolate, Chef Bruno folds the flavor into the potato puree just enough so you know it is there and richness and sweetness adds a subtle twist to the salmon. I’m not sure how long it took Chef Bruno to come up with that combination, but after one bit you will agree it was sure brilliance.
As fine of a chef as Bruno is, in all likelihood he is a much better human being. In honor of his mother, he founded Caterina’s Club, an organization dedicated to making sure the region’s most vulnerable population – its children -- receive a hot meal before they are tucked into bed each evening. 7 nights a week he prepares dinner that is transported to the “motel kids," thus named as these underprivileged children are forced to live in rundown motels because their poverty stricken parents are unable to afford more permanent housing. In addition to having served more than 500,000 meals so far, he has begun placing some of these families into homes of their own. The subject of childhood hunger in the United States still does not get the attention that it deserves, but Chef Bruno has done an amazing job feeding children and making more and more people aware of this sadly growing problem.
Chef Bruno, despite being one of the most modest people you will ever meet, has had worldwide fame thrust upon him not only due to his cooking, but even more so his generosity. He was named one of CNN's 10 Heroes of the Year and has been featured in magazines (People, Elle, Vogue), television ("CBS Evening News," "EXTRA,") and newspapers (New York Times, Los Angeles Times, OC Register) countless times. To top it off, Chef Bruno is now to be called Cavaliere, as he was knighted by the Italian government.
Did we even talk about the restaurant itself? We didn’t, but then again that gives you another reason to visit the White House, and trust me when I tell you that the name is befitting of the restaurant itself. The choices are plentiful but the Anaheim White House is one of those rare restaurants that it truly does not matter what you order, you will be glad you ordered whatever you did.
That Anaheim White House is located at 887 South Anaheim Blvd., in Anaheim, Orange County. For more information, visit www.anaheimwhitehouse.com