Orange County Restaurant News
Craig Strong, the former executive chef at Montage Laguna Beach’s Studio, has revealed the name and concept of his new restaurant. Ocean at Main, which will be located in downtown Laguna Beach, will feature seasonal dishes driven by pristine ingredients, a culinary style designed to pay homage to his French mentors like the late Paul Bocuse. The menu will also emphasize California products and will honor the state’s reputation for healthy lifestyle choices. The restaurant is slated to open in October. Ocean at Main, 222 Ocean Ave., Laguna Beach, CA 92651, no phone.
Left Coast Brewing Company has opened up a tap and tasting room in Irvine. The venue, which is located a few blocks south of the city’s Great Park, serves up a rotation of its award-winning craft beers in an industrial-themed space. Its brews are paired with a compact menu of Kansas City-style barbecue. Lunch & Dinner daily. Left Coast Brewing Company, 6652 Irvine Center Dr., Irvine, CA 92618, 949-387-5170.
The restaurant group behind Costa Mesa’s The Country Club and Wild Goose Tavern has opened Playa Mesa, the collective’s third culinary foray onto the city’s bustling 17th Street. The venue serves up Mexican cuisine inspired by several of the country’s key culinary regions, including Baja, Oaxaca, Michoacán and Jalisco, as interpreted by executive chef Rolando Rubalcava. Also featured are a list of Mexican beers, Spanish and Latin American wines, craft cocktails, and a deep roster of tequila and mezcal selections. Playa Mesa, 428 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa, CA 92627, 949-287-5292.
Chef John Tesar will open Outer Reef in late 2018 at Laguna Cliffs Resort & Spa in Dana Point. The restaurant will highlight seafood sourced exclusively from the West Coast, as well as California produce. Diners can also expect to find some dishes carried over from Tesar's Dallas restaurants, including meaty offerings from Knife (one of GAYOT's Best Steakhouses in the U.S.) and Spoon Bar & Kitchen’s crudo, caviar and shellfish. Outer Reef, Laguna Cliffs Resort & Spa, 25135 Park Lantern, Dana Point, CA 92629, no phone.
Toast Kitchen + Bakery is open in Costa Mesa. Dishes from the brunch menu include Thai chile chilaquiles, hot chicken & malasadas and Nutella stuffed french toast. Toast Kitchen + Bakery, 1767 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa, CA 92627, 949-873-5057.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken, the highly anticipated fast-casual and take-out restaurant from chef/restaurateur Ryan Adams, is open for business in Old Towne Orange. The cozy space specializes in Adams’ wildly popular fried chicken, which he serves up at his Laguna Beach restaurant Three Seventy Common Kitchen + Drink one Sunday a month. The chicken is accompanied by downhome sides such as mashed potatoes with gravy, mac & cheese or tots. The venue also features sandwiches, salads and desserts. Lunch & Dinner daily. Buttermilk Fried Chicken, 238 W. Chapman Ave., Ste. 100, Orange, CA 92866, 714-941-9124.
The Blind Pig Kitchen + Bar is opening its second location in Orange County. The new outpost of the hip gastropub and craft cocktail bar, whose original venue is situated on the edge of OC in Rancho Santa Margarita, is slated to drop in Yorba Linda in late fall of 2018. The debut will coincide with the launch of Yorba Linda Town Center, the retail center it will call home. Guests can expect to peruse an eclectic menu of seasonal contemporary fare such as wild boar meatballs with Japanese curry or grilled octopus, along with drinks composed with fresh ingredients and house-made syrups.
The Japanese noodle house Marugame Udon is coming to South Coast Plaza. The venue, which has sister locations in Los Angeles and San Francisco, is slated to open in fall of 2018. The menu is built on a build-your-own-bowl concept where guests can select various kinds of broth, proteins and garnishes to pair with noodles made in-house from proprietary cooking equipment imported from Japan. Diners can also order house specialties such as the Nikutama Udon featuring sweet beef and hot spring egg. Marugame Udon, South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, no phone.
Chef Ross Pangilinan (Mix Mix Kitchen Bar) will open TERRACE by Mix Mix at South Coast Plaza in Fall 2018. The restaurant will offer market-driven small plates drawing inspiration from French, Italian, and Filipino flavors. TERRACE by Mix Mix, South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, no phone.
TAPS Fish House & Brewery is opening TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room, a full-scale production brewery and tasting room in Tustin. Unlike its popular Brea and Irvine restaurants, TAPS’ new 1,900-square-foot venture will be casual and primarily focus on its award-winning and pioneering craft beers, with 16 dedicated TAPS beers on tap. The brews will be accompanied by an approachable food truck-style menu. The property is slated to debut in Summer 2018. TAPS Brewery & Barrel Room, 15501 Red Hill Ave., Tustin, CA 92780, no phone.
Restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi and chef Tony Esnault (Los Angeles’ Church & State and Spring) will open a French restaurant named Knife Pleat at Costa Mesa’s South Coast Plaza in early 2019. It will occupy the upscale property’s third-level Penthouse. Knife Pleat, South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, no phone.
Hockey Hall of Famer-turned-OC-restaurateur Teemu Selanne has unveiled a second dining concept. The venue, named Teemu Selanne Presents The Penalty Box, is slated to open this fall along with its host, the shipping container food hall SteelCraft Garden Grove. The restaurant will offer a substantially more casual eating experience than his upscale Laguna Beach spot, Selanne Steak Tavern. The menu is poised to feature burgers, hot dogs, shakes and several secret items.
The Bay Area-based Mediterranean food truck-turned-brick and mortar eatery Sajj has opened its first Orange County outpost. Located in Rancho Santa Margarita, the fast-casual restaurant offers a range of wraps, bowls and pita sandwiches that are fully customizable via a “build-your-own” concept. The restaurant also serves up a host of vegetarian-friendly accompaniments as well as all-ages beverages featuring ingredients like mint and tamarind. Lunch & Dinner daily. Sajj, 22245 El Paseo, Ste. A, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688, 949-709-7779.
Restaurant/brewery hybrid Congregation Ale House is opening its first Orange County location in downtown Santa Ana. Like the three other L.A. County outposts, the place will offer an array of burgers, pizzas and more assorted American bar food. An abundance of beer will also flow, in the form of local craft brews and Congregation’s own concoctions. Congregation Ale House, 201 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701, no phone.
Vive la France Burger!
French chef Daniel Boulud (of Daniel in New York City, one of GAYOT's Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S.) pioneered the "Gourmet Burger Revolution." So, it’s only natural that on Bastille Day, July 14, 2018, he launched "THE UMAMI FRENCHIE" with the famous UMAMI BURGER chain. (The timing was lucky as France won the 2018 FIFA World Cup the next day!) Discover the tasty burger, presented by Boulud himself, in this video. Then, go try it for yourself at UMAMI BURGER in Costa Mesa, Anaheim and Irvine. Part of UMAMI BURGER's Artist Series, "THE UMAMI FRENCHIE" ($18) will be available until September 14th. One dollar from each burger sold will benefit charitable organization Citymeals, which provides a lifeline of nourishing meals and vital companionship to New York City’s homebound elderly. Umami Burger, The Camp, 2981 Bristol St., Ste. B2, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, 714-957-8626.
BBQ Box Available through Labor Day at Grasslands
Through Labor Day weekend, Grasslands Meat Market BBQ & Churrasco in Anaheim is offering a BBQ Box for purchase that includes meat and sides. Designed to feed 6-8 people, the package ($99) features the restaurant's signature house meat, Picanha, along with two racks of St. Louis ribs, one rack of beef ribs, one whole chicken, mashed potatoes, black beans and a green salad with choice of dressing. Grasslands Meat Market BBQ & Churrasco, Anaheim GardenWalk, 400 W. Disney Wy., #199, Anaheim, CA 92802, 657-208-1133.
Marché Moderne Offers Spontané Menu on Mondays
Marché Moderne, the French restaurant from owner/chefs Florent and Amelia Marneauin, offers a special Spontanée Menu on Mondays. The three-course prix-fixe menu ($38 for food only) changes weekly. Add a carafe of wine for $18. Marché Moderne, Crystal Cove Shopping Center, 7862 E. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, CA 92657, 714-434-7900.
Brittany Valles has been named executive chef at Oak Grill, the flagship restaurant at Newport Beach’s Fashion Island Hotel. An Orange County native, Valles previously worked in Los Angeles under Michael Voltaggio, serving as chef de cuisine at the former Top Chef winner’s restaurant ink.well for seven years. Valles will also be in charge of the menu at Fashion Island Hotel’s popular cocktail bar, Aqua Lounge. Oak Grill, Fashion Island Hotel, 690 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, CA 92660, 949-760-4920.
Tangata Restaurant, the Patina Group venue located within Santa Ana’s Bowers Museum, has tapped Brian Kiepler as its new executive chef. A longtime member of chef Joachim Splichal’s restaurant group, Kiepler has previously served as executive chef for Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse in Los Angeles as well as executive chef at the Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art, where he oversaw the property’s culinary operations. At Tangata, Kiepler oversees a globally-inspired menu marked by distinct Pacific Rim influences. Tangata Restaurant, Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92706, 714-550-0906.
Craig Strong has parted ways with Studio, one of GAYOT's 2017 Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. Strong, who had spent the last nine years as executive chef for the Montage Laguna Beach’s flagship restaurant, has announced plans to open his own venue in downtown Laguna Beach. No replacement chef has been named. Studio, Montage Laguna Beach, 30801 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, CA 92651, 949-715-6030.
Tim Goodell is no longer the chef at Royal Hen, the intimate bistro-esque gastropub located on Balboa Island’s main drag. No replacement chef has been announced. Royal Hen, 311 Marine Ave., Newport Beach, CA 92662, 949-873-5603.
Strickland's has announced that it will close its Irvine shop in 2019. The ice cream purveyor is considering relocation. Strickland's, 4523 Campus Dr., Irvine, CA 92612, 949-387-9955.
ESPN Zone (1545 Disneyland Dr.) and Rainforest Cafe (1515 S. Disneyland Dr.), two dining mainstays of Downtown Disney in Anaheim, have closed. The venues, which had been culinary cornerstones of the dining, retail and entertainment complex since it opened in 2001, shuttered along with other stores to make room for a yet-to-be-named 700-room hotel that will cover 17 acres. ESPN Zone and Rainforest Cafe, Downtown Disney, 1545 Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, CA 92802, no phone.
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