Fable Spirit David Shofner Fable & Spirit

Fable & Spirit Awards

Relentlessly charming Newport Beach restaurant offering nuanced contemporary fare and a well-curated wine list.
Openings: Dinner nightly, Brunch Sat.-Sun.

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Fable & Spirit, Newport Beach, CA


Fable & Spirit Restaurant Review:



About the restaurant & décor: You can’t miss this restaurant while you stroll about the Lido neighborhood on Newport Beach’s storied Balboa Peninsula – just look for a bright yellow door. On the other side, you’ll find a delightfully warm, Irish-inspired space accented with colorful portraits of Celtic goddesses and a lengthy cocktail bar, creating a vibe that practically embraces its patrons with the charm of The Emerald Isle. The ambience juxtaposes with executive chef David Shofner’s studious approach to the Irish-kissed contemporary cuisine.

Likes: The wine list.
Dislikes: None.

Food & Drinks: The strength of the dishes lays in Shofner’s ability to augment the natural flavors of seasonal ingredients with nuanced tweaks that add logical depth to each bite. For instance, the braising glace used on the Mangalitsa pork belly provides a smoky barbecue essence that elevates the dish well above the cliché it has become elsewhere. Shofner also doesn’t mind testing the culinary mettle of the notoriously fickle Newport dining set. This is best evidenced by the first-rate rabbit fricassée, which is unapologetically served on-bone and accompanied by truffle potato purée, baby turnips and morels. For mains, the cracked pepper bucatini with pancetta and Manila clams is a master class in textural composition, while the grilled Prime rib cap demonstrates ideal restraint. Alaskan halibut is complemented by celeriac, chanterelle mushrooms, English peas, guanciale and citrus nage. The signature burger features Prime beef, American cheese, pork belly, caramelized onions, tomato and Dijon. The Meyer lemon and dark berry bread pudding is a showstopper, especially when paired with the whiskey-infused Irish coffee. If you appreciate wine, prepare to take a deep dive into the wine list, whose broad international selection of viticultural titans, sought-after cult labels, and popular known commodities easily makes it one of Orange County’s finest.

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