Eat This Now: Chicken Dinner at the Honda Center's Grand Terrace
It's been a while since the management of the Honda Center opened the Grand Terrace, the restaurant and outdoor patio above the main vestibule on the Katella Avenue side of the area. Like the Jack Daniels club, it's a restricted area; on game nights, it's restricted to people who have season club passes. You'll have a better chance at going on show nights, when it's less restricted. It's not a particularly elegant place--it's loud and busy, more like a sports bar than a temple of gastronomy--but you're not coming to a Ducks game for a candlelit, romantic dinner, you're coming to a Ducks game to watch some guys embarrass the hell out of some Canadian team who's never won the Stanley Cup.
The atmosphere aside, though, the menu is outstanding, especially given that they need to feed several hundred people and get them through the doors to their seats in time for the national anthems. An enormous hunk of cow came out--eventually--perfectly medium rare, with decent fries. It paled, though, in comparison with the platter of celery-apple roasted chicken I ordered. Our server warned us that this was a huge portion, and he was right.
You could quite easily feed a family of four with this and an appetizer. I honestly thought it was a family-style platter. The chicken, all six pieces of it (for $18!), were surprisingly tender and cooked so that there was still juice in the center, though the celery and apple didn't assert themselves at all; the gravy really complemented it well and wasn't salty. The polenta is as good as any Italian restaurant, with a cheesy, creamy texture inside a crispy shell. I ate almost all of the huge portion, greedy pig that I am. The asparagus was stone-cold but roasted perfectly. A note to the management: cold roasted asparagus is one of the glories of a springtime picnic. Put a little dish of aïoli on the plate for dipping and pretend you're doing it on purpose.
Because there is so much activity going on, though, you do need to arrive at least an hour and a half before faceoff so you have time to eat. Remember to ask for everything you'll want when you order, because you're competing with fifty other people for your server's attention.
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