Newport Beach Mag June/July 2015 : Page-92
taste OF THE TOWN Airport Area BAMBÚ Farm-to-table dining finds a home for breakfast, lunch and dinner in this atrium eatery. (Fairmont Newport Beach, 4500 MacArthur Blvd.; 949-476-2001; fairmont.com) BLUE MEDITERRANEAN CAFE There is no shortage of bold flavors at this cafe dedicated to healthy vegetarian and meat options. (3601 Jamboree Rd., Ste. 4; 949-474-7300) BOSSCAT KITCHEN & LIBATIONS Southern hospitality and craft cocktails abound in this creative kitchen. (4647 MacArthur Blvd.; 949-333-0917; bosscatkitchen.com) IL BARONE RISTORANTE Traditional Italian cuisine for lunch and dinner is offered in an upscale trattoria setting. (4251 Martingale Way, Ste. A; 949-955-2755; ilbaroneristorante.com) JULIETTE KITCHEN & BAR This American bistro serves up small plates and full entrees for lunch and dinner. (1000 N. Bristol St., Ste. 11; 949-752-5854; juliettenb.com) KITAYAMA Four distinct dining rooms accommodate a sushi lunch or an authentic multicourse experience. (101 Bayview Pl.; 949-725-0777; kitayamanewport.com) MOULIN BISTRO-ÉPICERIE-CAFÉ Sample classic French dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, including charcuterie and quiche, as well as new daily specials. ( 1000 N. Bristol St.; 949-474-0920; moulinbistro.com) NANA SAN Sushi and sashimi lovers unite here to enjoy the wide selection of fresh fish. (3601 Jamboree Rd.; 949-474-7373) ORIGINAL PIZZA II Never lacking in lunch and dinner options, this pizzeria is also a live music venue. (2675 Irvine Ave., Ste. D; 949-574-4995) TAPAS Bold Spanish flavors appear on sharable plates as live Latin entertainment takes center stage in the dining area. (4253 Martingale Way; 949-756-8194; tapasnewportbeach.net) TEN ASIAN BISTRO Asian fusion and sushi specialities, many of which appear for happy hour, fill the modern upscale eatery. (4647 MacArthur Blvd.; 949-660-1010; tenoc.com) Balboa Island AMELIA’S RESTAURANT This family-owned eatery offers fresh seafood and a taste of Italy in a cozy setting. (311 Marine Ave.; 949-673-6580; ameliasbalboaisland.com) BAROLO BY THE SEA The Tustin location’s elegant sister, Barolo serves expertly prepared Italian classics with optional wine pairings. (305 Marine Ave.; 949-675-6193) CIAO ITALIAN RESTAURANT New York-inspired Italian fare is served at this casual restaurant and wine bar. (223 Marine Ave.; 949-675-4070; ciaoitalianbalboa.com) SHANGHAI PINE GARDENS Chinese-American cuisine is crafted with care at this Balboa Island mainstay. (300 Marine Ave.; 949-673-3802) MIXING IT UP The OC Mix at SoCo (South Coast Collection) is a growing culinary hot spot in Costa Mesa, drawing chefs who wish to experiment with intriguing concepts. A couple newer restaurants are only adding to the prestige. PUEBLO , opened late last year, brings sharable Spanish plates that are rich in authentic flavor. The cozy, intimate restaurant has tables packed closely together so you can easily envy your neighbors’ dishes. There’s an unexpectedly large selection of tapas—nearly 30 options—so it helps to get a preview of the top picks. Start the meal off with a cold bite; the pan de Pueblo is a simple signature dish done right, featuring a piece of grilled bread with a salty olive tapenade and “boquerones” (fresh anchovies). The “montadito de costilla” is a standout on the hot menu, with a generous heap-ing of tender braised short rib, a rare slice of beef and pickled onion relish on a bite-sized toast. More recently, Laurent Brazier debuted BISTRO PAPILLOTE in April at the old Seventh Tea Bar location. Open for breakfast and lunch, it offers French classics like several crepe varieties, quiche and a croque monsieur. Put these restaurants on your radar and hop over the border to check out the latest happenings in Costa Mesa this summer. (shoptheocmix.com) —Allison Hata ANNE WATSON PHOTOGRAPHY Pan de Pueblo, with olive tapenade and fresh anchovies 92 NEWPORTBEACHMAGAZINE.COM
Taste Of The Town
MIXING IT UP
The OC Mix at SoCo (South Coast Collection) is a growing culinary hot spot in Costa Mesa, drawing chefs who wish to experiment with intriguing concepts.
A couple newer restaurants are only adding to the prestige. PUEBLO, opened late last year, brings sharable Spanish plates that are rich in authentic flavor. The cozy, intimate restaurant has tables packed closely together so you can easily envy your neighbors’ dishes. There’s an unexpectedly large selection of tapas—nearly 30 options—so it helps to get a preview of the top picks. Start the meal off with a cold bite; the pan de Pueblo is a simple signature dish done right, featuring a piece of grilled bread with a salty olive tapenade and “boquerones” (fresh anchovies).The “montadito de costilla” is a standout on the hot menu, with a generous heaping of tender braised short rib, a rare slice of beef and pickled onion relish on a bite-sized toast.
More recently, Laurent Brazier debuted BISTRO PAPILLOTE in April at the old Seventh Tea Bar location. Open for breakfast and lunch, it offers French classics like several crepe varieties, quiche and a croque monsieur.
Put these restaurants on your radar and hop over the border to check out the latest happenings in Costa Mesa this summer. (shoptheocmix.com) —Allison Hata
GOING FOR GOLD
Five Crowns celebrates 50 years in Corona del Mar with a revamped menu and a fresh approach.
BY ALLISON HATA | PHOTOS BY JODY TIONGCO
Five decades ago, the famous prime rib restaurant opened in a space once occupied by an illegal gambling hall. Bringing the Lawry’s name from Chicago to Corona del Mar’s flower streets, Five Crowns cemented its place in local history in April 1965.
It’s one of the oldest restaurants in town (The Quiet Woman is another that’s celebrating its golden milestone this year), successfully staying the course by building on beloved classic tastes and executing them perfectly.
Prime rib is—and always will be—a staple; for regular patrons, it’s a symbol of life’s biggest moments, be it an anniversary dinner or graduation celebration. But, as Five Crowns reached the half-century mark this spring, it took a leap of faith with a food and beverage program that almost triples the old selection.
It’s an exciting time for the restaurant’s culinary team, which has added new flavors and preparations to the menu. Family-style options and seafood are newer highlights, but the real spotlight shines on dishes that pay homage to Five Crowns’ past. Classics like the beef steak Neptune—tender filet mignon topped with soft, shredded crab meat, served alongside expertly grilled asparagus and a bed of mashed potatoes— bring to mind flavors of days past. The potato horseradish crusted salmon is another updated plate, pairing a juicy fish filet that has just the right amount of kick with a crispy potato pancake. A mustard sauce adds a creamy depth, while sauteed haricot verts provide a welcome bit of crunch and help cut the richness of the dish.
There are also plenty of offerings to sample on the side. The haricot verts are available as an accompaniment, but if you’re choosing something to share, the creamed spinach is a popular pick. A large platter of fruits del mar is perfect for larger groups; choose five seafood items from a selection that includes Scottish salmon tartare with dill creme fraiche, oysters, grilled shrimp, smoked trout dip and crostini, and crab and avocado mash with lime dressing and pita chips.
If you’re not quite ready to go home, SideDoor (adjacent to Five Crowns) offers a casual, English-style gastropub atmosphere for an after dinner drink. Some of the handcrafted specialty cocktails are available at both venues, including the refreshing Garden of Eden gimlet, served up with Prairie cucumber vodka, lavender honey syrup, lime and absinthe.
Those visiting before dinner, however, should stimulate their appetites with the new Poppy Love, which is inspired by the location at the intersection of Poppy Avenue and Coast Highway. The peppy blend brings together Botanist gin with poppy liqueur, amaro, and fig and cinnamon bitters for a tantalizing aperitif.
You may also hear whispers of a secret bar open on select evenings; figuring out how to make a reservation is half the fun. Five Crowns channels its gambling hall past in this rumored lounge with absinthe drips and one of the most authentic speakeasy vibes you can find in Orange County—but you didn’t hear it from us.
A CULINARY OASIS
Featuring an indoor-outdoor appeal and creative, seasonal cuisine prepared with fresh ingredients, Oak Grill is a must-try spot for summer dining.
BY ALLISON HATA | PHOTOS BY JODY TIONGCO
When Oak Grill was unveiled last summer at Island Hotel, the stunning outdoor patio—with its massive shady trees and romantic hanging lights—captured most of the attention. But in the year since, the talented kitchen team, helmed by Executive Chef Marc Johnson, has provided a more important reason for visiting the restaurant: perfectly prepared plates with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, the restaurant is never packed, though it should be. As more locals catch on to Marc’s culinary mastery, the patio and contemporary dining room may fill up; until then, enjoy a relaxed, quiet meal and attentive service.
This summer’s menu—which makes its debut July 7, according to Marc—is all about the heirloom tomato. Incorporated into nearly every section of the menu, the ingredient is exceedingly versatile. It stars in the heirloom tomato soup, a seasonal dish that brings to mind classic comfort fare. The bright, orange-hued broth is less acidic than its traditional counterpart and is also accompanied by crispy brioche croutons for texture, a dollop of queso fresco and a basil leaf.
If you’re looking for more small plates, a pork belly starter will satisfy any palate. Marc is an expert at preparing this popular cut of meat, so you can find it on the menu nearly any time of year in some form. For summer, it’s paired with a thin slice of grilled bread, a light avocado mousse and juicy heirloom tomatoes that add a pop of color and fresh flavor to help cut the complex richness of the pork.
Alaskan halibut is another ingredient making multiple appearances on the seasonal menu. The citrusy ceviche, a sharable plate that serves four, features pieces of the fish cooked a la minute with a Peruvian take. It’s joined by hominy served two ways—raw and toasted, almost like a corn nut—as well as a sliced rocoto pepper, onions and plantain chips. Those who want a larger portion of fish can order the Alaskan halibut entree, served with vinaigrette, English peas, watermelon and more heirloom tomatoes; the light flavors of the produce contrast perfectly with the satisfying smokiness of the fish.
Heirloom tomatoes make yet another appearance on the entree menu, this time with Maine diver scallops, feta cheese, basil pesto and Haas avocado. But if you’re ready to step away from seafood, the braised beef cheeks are an excellent foray into the indulgent meat offerings. So tender they almost fall apart at the touch, the meat melts in your mouth and is complemented by a creamy ramp risotto.
With so many plates to choose from, it’s hard to imagine you’ll have room for dessert. For those who have a second stomach for all things sweet, try the guanaja cremeux: It’s an artistically arranged brick of rich chocolate custard and smooth sassafras whipped cream. A few decadent bites are the perfect way to end a meal.
OFF THE ISLAND
A new cookbook released by Tommy Bahama earlier this year offers a guide to signature dishes from the brand’s restaurants, in addition to other Hawaiian specialties. The book is available to purchase at the restaurant in Corona del Mar Plaza, but here’s a sneak peek of a recipe perfect for a summer barbecue.
Maui Sweet Onion, Bacon and Chive Dip
Servings: 6 to 8
3 slices cooked bacon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 sweet onions, diced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon granulated onion
Potato chips or raw vegetables, for dipping
Cook the bacon in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Transfer to paper towels to drain and cool; discard the fat and wipe out the skillet with paper towels.
Add the oil to the skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the onions and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften (about 5 minutes). Uncover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are deep golden brown (about 25 minutes). Transfer the onions to a medium bowl and let cool completely.
Finely crumble the bacon and add to the onions. Stir in the sour cream, chives and onion powder; season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate to blend the flavors, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with chives to garnish and serve chilled with potato chips for dipping.
(Recipe from “Flavors of Aloha: Cooking With Tommy Bahama”)
The latest of Newport’s juice bars, LA-based Juice Served Here expects to hold its grand opening in June. Located at Lido Marina Village, the shop treated customers to a sneak peek of its cold-pressed juices in April. The popular detoxifying blend, Charcoal Lemonade, is on the menu, in addition to specialty shots, cleanse packets, smoothies, salads, super foods and healthy desserts.Cold-pressed juices are produced off-site in a zero-waste facility using produce from local, biodynamic farms.
Intended as more than just a place to grab a quick drink, Juice Served Here provides a comfortable atmosphere for socializing with friends. The 400-square-foot-space is more than welcoming, with contemporary details like black marble and steel elements, as well as a window seating area that invites long conversations to be held over cold sips.(juiceservedhere.com) —A.H.
UP AND COMING
The one constant in the local dining scene is that chefs and restaurants always keep us on our toes. Here’s a look at the opening announcements from recent months.
The former Chart House building finally has a new inhabitant, and it’s a name everyone in town is familiar with. THE RITZ restaurant is scheduled for a grand reopening in late summer—we’re just hoping the iconic Ritz egg makes the cut on the new menu.
South Coast Plaza has traded in the chic Charlie Palmer (which shuttered in May) for more casual fare. HOLSTEIN’S SHAKES & BUNS, a gourmet burger bar, is expected to open late summer.
Also this summer, HOPDODDY BURGER BAR is opening at Fashion Island with its first California location. Located behind Tesla on the Macy’s side, the restaurant is offering craft beer paired with burgers made from black Angus beef.
Those itching to try something new right now can stop by EL CHOLO, which took over the Landmark space on Coast Highway in Corona del Mar. The restaurant, owned by The Cannery’s Ron Salisbury, closed its Irvine location last year shortly before opening the Newport outpost. —A.H.
A major culinary highlight, the Golden Foodies are held every fall to toast the top industry talent. Celebrate early this year with The Golden Chef Series of intimate cooking demos, held at the new Sub-Zero and Wolf showroom in Costa Mesa. The series continues through August with monthly events until the big ceremony. Join chefs including Wing Lam of Wahoo’s Fish Taco and Zov Karamardian (June 30); Pascal Olhats and Chris Tzorin (July 28); and Noah Blom and Koire Rogers, chef and bartender at Arc Food & Libations, respectively (Aug. 25). Tickets can be purchased in advance for the chef series as well as the Golden Foodies awards gala, held Sept. 27 at the Fairmont Newport Beach. (goldenfoodieawards.com) —A.H.
True Food Kitchen’s new Wellness Wednesday initiative provides complimentary yoga classes on the outdoor patio. Held twice a month—June 24, and July 8 and 22—they’re led by a certified instructor who doubles as a restaurant employee. The sessions begin at 9 a.m. at the Fashion Island location. (truefoodkitchen.com) —A.H.
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