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Burgundy is Euro-style steakhouse

There’s a new restaurant in the heart of La Jolla - and it has an ambitious goal.

Burgundy Grill and Wine Bar is cozily ensconced in a quaint vintage cottage on Kline Street, but it aspires to be a European-style steakhouse. That means that steak is an important item on the menu - and no matter what you order on the tempting menu, your entree comes with a guarantee: If you’re still hungry after the meal, you can get seconds on the house!

That’s not a bad offer, although the portions are so generous, you probably won’t have to take them up on it. You can also have all the fries you can eat (and they are delicious). We ended up with a doggie bag, after sampling one of the appetizers along with our dinner.

Burgundy Grill and Wine Bar serves lunch and dinner every day of the week, both inside the intimate dining room and enclosed porch and on the large outdoor patio that makes people watching a convenient and pleasant pastime.

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The main dining room has a striking mural as its focal point and several tables covered with burgundy cloths. Although the porch is enclosed, windows on all three sides give it an outdoor feeling, and the outdoor dining spaces are all well-heated against the winter chill.

The restaurant got its name from the region of Burgundy and its wines. Some of the wines are offered by the glass as well as by the bottle in this welcome newcomer to the La Jolla dining scene. Not surprisingly, Burgundy features the dishes for which the region of Burgundy is renowned.

The restaurant has an international flair - prepared by a savvy French-Lebanese chef - with a nod to local tastes. However, with French fries made the traditional way accompanying the meal and French favorites, such as quiche, steak bourguignon (prepared from green-fed Angus beef), and chocolate soufflee, you know there’s a strong French influence on the cuisine. The entire menu was built around the wines served at the restaurant.

The price fixed menu ($24) includes your choice of soup or salad and an entree. The salad is a crisp romaine, sprinkled with walnuts, and it is delicious. The soup selection is a homemade tomato soup “drenched” in herbs. Either way, you’ll be off to a great start.

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Among the highlights on the lunch and dinner entree menu is steak bourguignon with mushrooms and herbs, and a roux sauce. That classic is the most popular dish with local diners. Try it and you’ll discover the reason for its popularity.

Another variation on that theme is the Burgundy chicken - marinated Airline chicken with oregano and garlic. This traditional dish is anointed with a delightful wine sauce.

Chicken gets a different treatment in the balsamic-glazed chicken breast, which the chef marinates in balsamic spices and tops with a vinegar sauce.

If you prefer seafood, you can opt for the wild Alaskan salmon with tomato and cilantro and a delicate lemon sauce. Ahi tuna is seasoned with rosemary and served seared - along with sweet potatoes and an herbal sauce.

What French restaurant worth its salt could forget the classic quiche? At Burgundy, the baked quiche is part of a vegetarian trio that includes portobello mushrooms, steamed asparagus and fresh stuffed tomato. That dish comes with a sweet mustard sauce.

The appetizer list is well thought out, and some of these starters would make a wonderful light lunch. The chicken brochette ($10), for example, is a good stand-alone meal - or an excellent appetizer to share with your dinner companion. It features marinated chicken on skewers and a delicate pesto sauce.

Goat cheese fanciers will have a ball with the goat cheese salad ($12). This personal favorite is made with herbed goat cheese, and served with olive and tomato drizzled with olive oil.

You get jumbo shrimps in a cocktail sauce when you order Burgundy’s shrimp cocktail ($14). The shrimp are embedded in limp lettuce.

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The gourmet cheese platter is listed under “hors d’oeuvres” - but it could easily serve as a dessert. Priced at $16, this wooden platter comes with a combination of imported cheeses, and is a perfect accompaniment for a nice glass of wine.

Desserts are very French - especially the tart aux pears ($7) and the chocolate souffle ($7). You can’t go wrong with the banana split ($7) either.

Diners can take advantage of several lunch specials here as well. The romaine salad costs $5, tomatoes and mozzarella in a house vinaigrette sells for $5, while mixed greens cost $4. The restaurant’s popular Burgundy salad (with wine-marinated chicken breast on crisp romaine lettuce) costs $10, as does the signature goat cheese salad on this special menu. Ahi tuna sells for $14.

Among the sandwiches and paninis available for lunch are tomato mozzarella ($9), a Mediterranean vegetarian sandwich with goat cheese on Burgundy’s signature French baguette ($8), chicken pesto ($9), sliced steak fillet with melted provolone ($11), avocado and chicken breast ($9), and Burgundy chicken ($9) - which the menu boasts is the “hottest panini in town.”

With the dishes of Burgundy as a base, and a fine wine list to complement the cuisine, Burgundy Grill and Wine Bar should make a very good addition to the La Jolla dining scene. The service is friendly and helpful, and the cottage atmosphere makes a perfect backdrop for savoring the food and wine.

Burgundy Grill & Wine Bar is at 830 Kline St., 729-9905.