RVOC July 2009 : Page 76
R e s t a u r a n t Special EST SUSH Magical Mex? It’s a bit of a crime that with a few exceptions (most notablyGabbi’s in Orange),O.C. lacksmodern, upscale Mexican restaurants where the cuisine tops the scene.Here’s hoping that will change when Sol Cucina debuts this summer. ChefDeborah Schneider’s Baja-basedmenu looks promising on paper, as does the restaurant’s on-the- water design byT omas Schoos. 251 Pacifi c CoastHwy.,Newport Beach. Hot Seats! We have high hopes for Andrei’s, the chic spot on Irvine’sMain St., and Comme Ça, though David Myers’ brasserie won’t open until late 2009.Most intriguing is 75, the new incarnation of Laguna’s French 75. With a gorgeous design and a possibly stunning chef announcement, the opening will be one of O.C.’s most anticipated. The bar is hopping at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse in Fashion Island. Hamamori If Hamamori had a more celeb-friendly name like Nobu or Katsuya, the sleek South Coast Plaza sushi restaurant would always be packed, and no one would bitch about the prices.T at’s because big-city sushi of this quality should be expensive. And make no mistake, the dishes chef James Hamamori turns out are state-of-the-art.T ere’s not a lot of faked frivolity at Hamamori—this is serious sushi.T e best way to go is omakase, naturally, allowing the chef to prepare a tasting menu of what’s freshest that day. In deference to the economy, there are less expensive options for omakase (fi ve courses for $45, for example), but we still prefer to leave it all up to the chef, and we’re never less than awed.T e modern white room is sexy, as are the dishes. But beware: Gentleman James isn’t down with guys who sit their female “friends” at the same sushi bar they visit with their spouses.T at’s so not sexy! Remember, your sushi chef is your friend, so never embarrass yourself in front of him. 3333 Bear St., CostaMesa, 714.850.0880. Green Scene! We love our leathers and occasionally wear fur, but that doesn’tmean we can’t enjoy a meat-free, gluten-free and (most importantly) guilt-freemeal. 118 Degrees: Slow, raw, sustainable—sure, we’re down with the uncooked organic goodies here. But we still like it hot, and that’s just what chef/owner Jenny Ross is! 2981 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, 714.754.0718. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse We love eating at the bar.T ere’s something ceremonial—and perhaps a tad territorial—about howthe bartender sets up your spot in anticipation of the full meal to follow. At Fleming’s, the upscale action around the bar makes it a value-add proposition—you’re getting dinner and a show on one tab! From the exec types on the prowl to the please-don’t-call- them-cougars cuties sampling one of the 100wines available by the glass, there’s always something to see. And sure, there’s a happy hour special— fi ve cocktails, wines by the glass and apps, $6 each until 7pm—but we’re here to slice into a big, sizzling steak, as the boys at the bar give us room. Hot plate! 455Newport CenterDr.,Newport Beach, 949.720.9633 . 76 | | July 2009 Greens Café: T is little vegan hole in the wall is the type of place where bottles of kombucha are the fermented beverage of choice, and the food goes far beyond the dishes you’ll fi nd at now-corporate Native Foods. 15435 Jeff rey Rd., Irvine, 949.653.1241. La Sirena Grill: In the heart of downtown Laguna is one ofO.C.’s best not-so-secret sustainable places. T e line is a bit long in this shanty- of-a-spot during lunch hour, but the delicious, strictly organic plates are worth the wait. 347Mermaid St., Laguna Beach, 949.497.8226. The Stand: Interested in something a littlemore PETA- friendly? Check outT e Stand, located a few blocks south of La Sirena, where even salt is a dirty word. Ignore the trustafarians and get your ohm on. 238T alia St., Laguna Beach, 949.494.8101. ParkAve: T ough the city of Stanton isn’t quite Laguna Beach when it comes to organic living, this non-veggie retro retreat features produce fromits on-site organic garden, part of the one-acre “park” that it sits on, a green respite from the suburban sprawl. 11200 Beach Blvd., Stanton, 714.901.4400. Deviled tomatoes at 118 Degrees.