Did you know that Cucina Alessa, the excellent Newport Beach Italian restaurant that begat a just-as-good Huntington Beach offshoot (both of them, coincidentally listed on Dave's Top 5 favorite restaurants of 2010) opened another sister restaurant in Laguna Beach? Neither did I, until I read a review of the place in The Daily Pilot.
If it seems to have gone under everybody's radar, well, okay just my radar, it might be because it's not called Cucina Alessa. It goes by just "Alessa". Laguna Beach locals, quick-draws when it comes to new restaurants opening in their midst, are reportedly already swarming the place (which, by the way, takes no reservations).
Also according to reviewers Elle Harrow and Terry Markowitz, it seems that Alessandro Pirozzi's third namesake restaurant is slightly different than his previous two. For one it has a prosciutto and mozzarella bar, serves crudo and fragole (a word that simply means "strawberry" in Italian) where the fruit is the anchor for a salad sprinkled by its own "dust".
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It replaces the defunct Pomodoro at 234 Forest Ave. Although I've only been to Cucina Alessa's happy hour, which I consider one of the best in county (I gave it an A+), I sampled enough of their food to know that this is good news for Laguna Beach--not that it needs more restaurants.