For wine and wild game

Couple open restaurant they hope encourages diners to try new things. Their menu includes a burger with a half pound of elk.

January 29, 2010|By Brianna Bailey

Don Schoenburg and Christi Carter knew they had found the right place to open a restaurant when they stumbled across a vacant spot in Lido Marina Village.

The couple’s new venture, the Lido Deck, 3420 Via Oporto, Suite 101, features simple, seasonal dishes paired with boutique wines. Featuring waterfront dining and a private dining room, the restaurant is on the site of the defunct eatery Blanca.

“Our vision is to have a place where you could come and get a really good meal, or at least not so expensive. We also want to encourage people to try new things,” Schoenburg said.


The former executive chef at Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge in Costa Mesa’s Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Schoenburg has a passion for wild game.

He started making elk burgers with wild boar bacon for his staff at Cafe Rouge, and they quickly became a hit among restaurant regulars.

The Lido Deck version of the elk burger features half a pound of elk, caramelized red onions, remoulade sauce, braised lamb belly, wild boar bacon, tres leche cheese, topped with duck egg on a Kaiser roll.

“It’s so over the top, but it’s something everybody likes because it’s basically a bacon cheeseburger,” Schoenburg said.

The couple met in culinary school in Pasadena and owned a restaurant together in Key West before relocating to Orange County in 2005.

Carter, an award-winning pastry chef, says she’s always been drawn to sweets.

“I really fell in love with the artistic side of it,” Carter said. “Baking is such a release.”

The dessert menu is always changing at the Lido Deck, but one of Carter’s favorites at the moment is a date cake topped with caramel toffee crunch ice cream and black pepper caramel.

She also recommends her flourless chocolate cake.

“I try to keep up with the new trends, but what I like is to do the classic comforting things and put a little spin on them,” Carter said.

The two chefs added a new wine bar to their restaurant space, featuring an eclectic selection of wines French and California wines from smaller wineries. The wine is all sold at retail price.

“We try to encourage people to try wine with their meal, because sometimes people don’t for financial reasons,” Schoenburg said.

They’re also looking to host monthly wine diners featuring appearances by wine makers.

For Valentine’s Day the Lido Deck is offering a three-course prix fixe menu with wine pairings for $95 featuring dishes like spiced Moroccan duck and local halibut.

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