The Boathouse Collective

1640 Pomona Ave.
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Boathouse Collective is a Japanese restaurant in Costa Mesa. Garlands of lightbulbs crisscross overhead. And on long communal picnic tables, groups of people will eat, drink, take selfies and sing “Happy Birthday” in an asphalt courtyard with potted trees and an herb garden. If a joyous summer-night wedding banquet were ever to be held at a Home Depot Garden Center, it would probably look something like this. The chef is Mathieu Royer, once a cook at Pizzeria Ortica, Hinoki and the Bird, and Morimoto, now inventor of dishes that demonstrate the Japanese virtue of artistic restraint. His grilled swordfish is a lone hunk of snowy moistness floating atop a Thai coconut curry with waves of potatoes sliced long and thin. A Zen-garden arrangement of crisp-skinned roasted fingerlings is further proof, a side dish found on the vegetarian side of the menu, where a halved purple potato leans on the humps of the yellows as it gazes into a puddle of lemon aioli, contemplating the meaning of life.

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