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bambu Restaurant Review: The Fairmont Newport Beach has been somewhat off the OC food-lover’s radar until now. Chef Michael Nirtaut, who toiled for three years here as banquet chef and formerly worked at the Montage Laguna Beach and The Island Hotel Newport Beach, has taken over the kitchens. For breakfast, mostly business types (the hotel sits directly across from John Wayne Airport) nosh in bambú’s delightful setting: a sunny four-story atrium with 20-foot bamboo trees, palms, orchids and burgundy and chocolate brown accents throughout. The breakfast menu has all the usual healthy and American-style egg dishes, but also features such offerings like a beef short rib scrambler. Lunch features a super quick two-course option, along with à la carte items like yellowtail tacos and a steak salad. However, the star at bambú is chef Nirtaut’s prix-fixe menu at dinner. Changed weekly to complement seasonal ingredients, this three-course menu features innovative modern American cuisine. A martini glass is filled with a creamy cauliflower soup, aged cheddar, crushed popcorn and a crispy mushroom feuillette. A nicely cooked Hudson Valley duck breast has wild forest flavors, with its blueberry-thyme chutney, parsnip purée and soubise sauce. Scallops pair well with apple wood-smoked bacon mashed potatoes, spinach purée, crisp green beans and a caviar Champagne sauce. The regular menu features bar-style appetizers, pastas, panini, soups and salads. Desserts are not as tempting, but are still worth the calories, especially a roasted hazelnut and chocolate torte with chocolate mousse, praline crunch and cranberry compote. The wine list is short, yet has some notable by-the-glass varietals mostly from Napa Valley.