Mendocino Cheese Plate @ Mendocino Terrace

Price: $12.00

When: June 3, 2017, 2 PM

Reservations: n/a

Verdict? Not recommended

Mendocino Terrace is a counter-service wine bar located next to Wine Country Trattoria in California Adventure.

Mendocino is technically a standalone restaurant, but it mostly serves as the Trattoria’s holding tank. If you’ve got a decent wait for a table at the Trattoria, Mendocino Terrace can hook you up with glass of wine (or beer) served, for easy portability, in a plastic cup.

They also serve food.

Like Sonoma Terrace, the Mendocino menu is incredibly small. Just 2 items. And, in fact, one of those dishes is also found at Sonoma: the Italian Cold Cut Plate. But Mendocino does have one unique dish – the Mendocino Cheese Plate. We’re keen to try it.

I order, and am handed a black plastic container. It’s straight out of a cold case.

This is not promising.

I return to the table, open the container, and inspect the goods.

First impression: this looks shockingly similar to the Gourmet Cheese Plate at Sonoma. (I actually have to check our archives to make sure this isn’t a repeat.) Turns out the dishes are similar, but not identical. OK.

Second impression: nothing about this feels premium or special. It’s deli-case cheese, cut into cubes, triangles, or long slices. There’s some grapes on top. Some walnuts on the side. That’s it.

We pull out the forks, and go to work.

This is flavorless.

Well, not perfectly flavorless. But if there is some kind of bare minimum flavor standard for something to be considered cheese, this dish is skirting the line. The cheddar is mild to the point of pointlessness. The parmesan (we think it was parmesan) has some tang to it, but not much else. The jack cheese (we think it was jack) might as well not show up. And the long, triangular slice (brie? blue cambazola?) has decent texture and consistency. But that’s it.

(Oh, and the grapes? Close to their sell-by. The walnuts? Wet. For some reason. Blech.)

“This dish is great,” said Rafa, “If you hate flavor, but need calories.”

Not recommended.