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Stonehill Tavern Restaurant Review: Michael Mina is known for making a big statement with his modern American food, something that he has accomplished with aplomb in Orange County. Located in the Italianesque St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach, Stonehill Tavern has a posh, contemporary interior with glassed-in booths --- like something out of a James Bond film --- warm woods and a romantic vibe. Mina has left the kitchen in the more than capable hands of Raj Dixit, an OC native and longtime Mina aficionado who honed his craft under New York chef David Bouley. Dixit brings a style that is visually stark, as every speck of carefully composed color that appears on the plate hammers home his love of the farm aspect of the farm-to-table concept. Dixit's knack for composing vibrant-looking bites is matched by his keen sense of ingredient interplay, all while accentuating flavors in their purest form. Although many of Mina’s signature Stonehill dishes remain, such as the lobster potpie, Dixit's imprints are evident. If you let him, Dixit (and his sommelier) will take you on a sensory journey. For example, a starter as simple as a local-kale Caesar with boquerones and black olive “soil” flourishes with subtle taste cues, while his barely touched Kona kanpachi with green apple and jalapeño is distinctively bold without being overwhelming. Kurobuta pork tenderloin with forbidden rice and pineapple is an entrée clearly crafted after deep thought, while black cod with miso, Laughing Bird shrimp, bok choy and mustard is a sumptuously composed delight. Pastry chef Maren Henderson is allowed to have plenty of fun with the dessert menu, best witnessed by the intriguing sunchoke sundae with campfire marshmallow, Frosted Flakes, peanut and malted dulce. The restaurant also features a seven-course tasting and wine pairing menu; however, the entire table must agree to this gourmet feast, leaving à la carte diners out of luck. Service is topnotch, making it a good place to dine with family and friends or impress clients.