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The highly anticipated artisan food complex in Santa Ana’s burgeoning downtown area, 4th Street Market, is now open. The massive center features 30,000 square feet of various culinary-based enterprises, ranging from restaurants and a demo kitchen to a community market. Some of the quick-bite eateries include Wagyu Chuck, a gourmet hamburger concept hatched by Playground chef Jason Quinn; and Ink Waffles, a waffle sandwich shop overseen by Anepalco’s Café chef Danny Godinez. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily. 4th Street Market, 201 East 4th St., Santa Ana, CA 92701, 714-486-0700.
The L.A.-based sushi restaurant Sushi Roku is opening up a location at Newport Beach’s Fashion Island in early 2015. This marks the first foray into Orange County for the venue, whose Hollywood locale has developed a strong reputation for star-spotting, along with its contemporary sushi. As is the case with its other five locations, the Newport Beach venue will emphasize a fusion approach to its sushi and entrees --- one that incorporates non-traditional ingredients from Europe and Latin America into its offerings. Dinner nightly. Sushi Roku, Fashion Island, 401 Newport Center Drive Ste 327, Newport Beach, CA 92660, No phone available.
Dory Deli has opened its doors next to the Newport Beach pier. The restaurant's name references the area’s historic fish market. It serves up a list of breakfast items and salads, along with a host of traditional and artisanal sandwiches, including several vegetarian offerings. The eatery also features a wine and beer list highlighted by the presence of several local craft brews. Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner daily. Dory Deli, 2108 3/4 West Oceanfront, Newport Beach, CA 92663, 949-220-7886.
Anaheim Marriott has opened its new restaurant concept nFuse Bar & Kitchen. The new venue offers guests another iteration of the trendy shared plates concept with a menu of contemporary cuisine with a Californian influence. The new spot also features an outdoor dining deck with a cozy fire pit for patrons to gather while eating or enjoying a craft cocktail or one of the 24 beers on tap. Dinner nightly. nFuse Kitchen & Bar, Anaheim Marriott, 700 West Convention Way, Anaheim, CA 92802, 714-750-8000.
The chef-driven, farm-to-table concept Tempo Urban Kitchen is now open in Brea. The eatery’s executive chef, Derrick Foster, comes to Orange County by way of New York City and Colorado, and delivers a menu of modern American and global cuisine built around ingredients that are fresh and scratch-made --- all the way down to the salt. The venue will also feature an eclectic list of handcrafted cocktails, craft beers and international wines. For more information, visit www.tempourbankitchen.com. Lunch & Dinner daily. Tempo Urban Kitchen, 1060 Imperial Hwy., Brea, CA 92821, 714-529-2900.
Eats Kitchen & Bar, Orange County’s latest foray into the swelling gastropub genre, has opened in the newly renovated Hotel Irvine, formerly the Hyatt Regency Irvine. Executive chef Jason Montelibano, who previously oversaw the kitchen of Chapter One: The Modern Local in Santa Ana, has cobbled together a small plates menu consisting of updated versions of classic comfort food. The restaurant, which will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, also features a host of craft beers and wine flights. For more information, visit www.hotelirvine.com. Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner daily. Eats Kitchen & Bar, Hotel Irvine, 17900 Jamboree Rd., Irvine, CA 92614, 949-230-4452.
The contemporary Chinese restaurant Twenty Eight opened its doors in the heart of Irvine’s original business district on December 10, 2014. The restaurant is the brainchild of executive chef and partner Shirley Chung, whose pedigree includes an appearance on Top Chef and a successful stint as executive chef at China Poblano by Jose Andres. Chung promises to bring regional Chinese dishes to the venue, made with local seasonal ingredients and progressive flavors. Twenty Eight, 19530 Jamboree Rd., Irvine, CA 92612, 949-852-2828.
Amar Santana, executive chef and owner of Laguna Beach’s Broadway by Amar Santana, has announced plans for a second restaurant. The new venue, Vaca, is slated to open in summer 2015 across the way from South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. The restaurant marks a return to Costa Mesa for Santana, who built up a solid following among dining patrons as executive chef at Charlie Palmer’s at Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza. Vaca, 695 Town Center Dr., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, no phone.
New Brewing Team Members at TAPS Fish House & Brewery
TAPS Fish House & Brewery has announced that David Huls and Kyle Manns have returned to the Brea restaurant and brewpub to helm the brewery program. Huls, who most recently developed Barley Forge in Costa Mesa, will be assuming the role of Director of Brewery Operations. Manns will take on the title of Brewery Operations Manager, after spending time as head brewer at Anaheim’s Bottle Logic Brewing. The duo will be responsible for overseeing and expanding the venue’s offerings of in-house-brewed beers, including special releases throughout the year. TAPS Fish House & Brewery, 101 E. Imperial Hwy., Brea, CA 92821, 714-257-0101.
Unpretentious Wine Thursdays at Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street hosts Unpretentious Wine Thursdays, a monthly get-together designed to take the perceived starch out of wine tasting. Guests gather in the downtown Fullerton restaurant’s heated outdoor patio to enjoy pairings of wines from a selected vintner with the restaurant’s Cajun-inspired contemporary fare. The cost of the event is $20, and is slated to run from 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. The event occurs on the third Thursday of the month. Bourbon Street, 110 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, CA 92832, 714-626-0050.
Return of Orange County Restaurant Week
Orange County Restaurant Week returns March 1-7, 2015, to shine the spotlight on the various dining experiences that exist within the collection of OC’s different cities. The seventh-annual weekend fête features specially crafted prix fixe lunch and dinner menus from more than 100 participating restaurants, covering a wide array of cuisines, dining concepts and price points. Select participating restaurants include AnQi Gourmet Bistro by Crustacean, Lucca Café, Prime Cut Café, Golden Truffle and The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon. Lunch menus range from $10-$20, and dinner options range from $20-$50. For more information, visit www.ocrestaurantweek.com
Scott Brandon is no longer the executive chef at Fireside An American Tavern. No reasons for his departure was announced. The Costa Mesa venue, which is housed inside the Crowne Plaza Costa Mesa hotel, has not named a replacement chef. Fireside An American Tavern, Crowne Plaza Costa Mesa Orange County, 3131 S. Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714-913-9061.
Nieuport 17 will be serving its last meal to customers March 31, 2015. The venerable aviation-themed Tustin restaurant, which has been known for its Continental cuisine, will be closing its doors after 45 years of service, due to a decline in business. No future plans for the restaurant’s building have been announced. Nieuport 17, 13051 Newport Ave., Tustin, CA 92780, 714-731-5130.
El Cholo closed the doors to the Irvine location at the end of 2014. However, the restaurant will be resurfacing in Corona Del Mar, as it will be taking over the location previously occupied by Landmark. The restaurant’s new locale is slated to open in the spring of 2015. El Cholo, 5465 Alton Pkwy., Irvine, CA 92604, no phone.
OC Wine Mart has closed its Irvine location, citing a sharp increase in property rent as the reason for the shuttering. The Yorba Linda location of the popular wine bar and market will remain open, and will continue to offer a selection of artisanal cheeses, meats and other snacks, in addition to its enomatic wine-tasting service. OC Wine Mart, 2272 Michelson Dr., Irvine, CA 92612, no phone.
View our calendar of Wine Dinners & Tastings in Orange County