To use the word of the owners, “their vision is a melting pot of traditional and fusion cuisine inspired by dishes originating around the world” and the menu at Escape Restaurant and Bar reflect that commitment. After dining there several times since opening, I believe they hit it just right.
The interior is perfect for the area, brick walls, marble table tops, and we were fond of the comfortable lucite chairs and bank seating. Outback a canopy protects from the sun, suitable tables and sofas fill up the area for dining or hookah enjoyment.
Small plates and tapas fill the menu with tastes from France, the Pacific Islands, and the Middle East to South America, cocktails plus wine and beer round out the dining experience. We ordered from several areas of the menu, and every dish well lived up to our expectations. Let’s take a look.
From the Tapas selection, we started with the Saganaki or Flaming Cheese, and it did flame. Traditional Greek Kasseri cheese with vodka flambeed made us ooh and ahh. Once it cooled enough for us to dig in, we devoured the cheese in no time at all. Lightly salty the texture was dense and pliant as we expected, a big win for the first dish.
Still, into the Tapas, Garlic Shrimp (Gambas Al Ajillo) proved to be equally as tasty and eye appealing when it arrived. The dish of sauteed shrimp in a spicy garlic cream sauce served with avocado bruschetta crostini. Plump, sweet shrimp with a hint of garlic, we could have eaten more of this.
Our best and favorite choice from the Tapas, the Canadian Blue, a seared beef tenderloin, blue cheese cream, and caramelized onions. Meat butter soft and cooked a perfect med rare, the blue cheese heady and added depth to the meat. I was so impressed with this dish, I have ordered it again on another one of my return visits.
We took a break from Tapas and moved to the Khachapuri offerings a traditional Georgian cheese and egg bread, with five options to choose from we selected the chicken, this was chopped chicken, seasoning, onion, green peppers, tomatoes and fresh garlic with mozzarella cheese. Although not the Khachapuri I have been served in the past, this was a tasty mix of flavors, plus the dough was the correct texture for dipping. The Khachapuri is the food we would want to order again with different ingredients.
Similar but not the same from the Pie selections the Roman Pie, cheese wowed us with flavor, texture, and again the beautiful dough. This simple pie dressed with mild tomato gravy and covered with well melted and flavored mozzarella kept us happily going back for more.
Our last choice a return to the tapas section, Jumbo Scallops and Mushroom Risotto, my second most favorite. Large plump scallops, layered with fresh, bright green asparagus spears in a creamy mushroom parmesan risotto. This dish was multi-layered in texture and taste, brightened but the intensity of the asparagus.
The five of us agreed how tasty each dish was, and vowed to return to continue and work our way through the menu. Escape Restaurant is a beautiful addition to 5 Points area in Riverside that we hope will be well received and patronized but locals and people outside of the city.