Fifty Years of La Cave

Costa Mesa's steakhouse shrine to young hipsters and elderly cool cats alike knows the best is yet to come

Starting each show with "Fly Me to the Moon," the 70-ish UCLA theater-school and South Coast Repertory alum snaps his fingers to the beat. Crooning with a red rose in his lapel, Kinwald works the room backed only by red-velvet drapes and his VocoPro karaoke machine. Each table is full, and there is no discernible congruity. As with Sinatra, the restaurant appeals to the masses. One table is filled with white-haired lovers in an embrace, mouthing the words to the saloon song "One for My Baby (And One for the Road)." One table over is a bohemian-looking young twosome too caught up in each other to notice anyone else in the room as they whisper back and forth. A silver fox and his knockout daughter banter with Kinwald, adding to the mirth.

Kinwald breaks into songs such as "You Make Me Feel So Young" and "September of My Years" before ending with "New York, New York." With a smile and a wink, Kinwald closes out the show with a wry farewell: "Thanks for coming, baby."

The cavernous lounge is perfect for Kinwald's schtick. "It's romantic," he explains after the show. "It's the perfect kind of room for what I do."

Star Foreman
La Cave bartender Josh Wenzel, all set to serve 'em up
Star Foreman
La Cave bartender Josh Wenzel, all set to serve 'em up

Point proven. "I want him to sing to me every night," says Carol Theiss, a pretty fortysomething Aliso Viejo resident visiting La Cave for the first time. Sipping a glass of Syrah, she takes in the scene. "It's easy to forget where you are while you're here. It's like the restaurant is frozen in time."

 

This article appeared in print as "The Best Is Yet to Come: Five decades of La Cave, Costa Mesa's steakhouse shrine to young hipsters and elderly cool cats alike."

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7 comments
fitzamatic
fitzamatic

What ever happened to the Todd Oliver Quartet?

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nashville flower delivery

Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant up Highway 39 in Buena Park. Just good, formal eating, with a surf-and-turf dinner that left the two stuffed as though they were teens at a drive-in.

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detroit flower shops

The elevator delivers patrons to the bustling dining area, a small, dark room in which everything seems to be a hue of burgundy-brown illuminating old-school allure.

Newportblue65
Newportblue65

It was good then and it's good now!!!!.......You should give it a try!.......By the way, John Wayne really did go there!......Rumor was .......he liked the steaks!.......

Dr. Dan
Dr. Dan

Great date place in the early and mid-60's. But, don't forget that life in OC existed further north--the old Oak Club at the Disneyland Hotel, Chez Cary in Orange along with Villa Fontana (with obligatory Nixon photo in the lobby). Not longer after came Lafayette in Garden Grove and the Jolly Knight to mention but a few other great places.

Manny Subia
Manny Subia

Love.....Love.......LOVE this place! Been visiting it for the past decade and never get bored. I was introduced to La Cave by one of my Co-Worker which also moonlights as a bartender there. I have yet to actually have the steak but my birthday is around the corner and I'm starting to get some good ideas lol ..........Keep up the phenomenal work La Cave,......Can't wait til my next visit

 
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