Open to the public yesterday, Bluegold by Jed Sanford and recent On the Line subject Tin Vuong made its debut on the second floor of Pacific City. We visited over the weekend (prior to soft opening) to thank chef for his interview and check out the completed space. Here's your first look.
Bluegold's menus cover a spectrum of tastes. We spotted steam kettles for a series of seafood entrees. A hearth oven bakes a handful of pizzas. Both wood and charcoal burning grills are situated side-by-side in the kitchen, offering surf and turf options. Serving daily breakfast, lunch and dinner may seem aggressive, but chef understands he needs to cater to many different appetites.
There are technically two restaurants represented in the 8,800 square foot space (More on the other dining concept shortly). The primary seating area is indoors, with picturesque views of the Pacific and windows flooding the dining room with natural light. A wrap around counter gives diners an opportunity to watch live oyster shucking. While the bar isn't front and center, its openness offers the same ocean backdrop. Patio options are also available.
The secondary concept, LSXO, should not be called a speakeasy. In fact, it's another full-fledged restaurant by Blackhouse Hospitality Group. Seating only 28 (with four of those seats at the bar), reservations are preferred, but walk-ins are welcomed, based on availability. Featuring lunch, dinner and dessert, we are completely down for their afternoon tea service. Little Sister XO is a nod to Chef Tin's Vietnamese roots. Homestyle cooking with scratch-made condiments, it is a totally different menu from Bluegold. Dishes pictured above include rau muong xao - Vietnamese spinach stir fried with garlic; fried sea bass, scallion oil, peanuts, herbs, ginger chili sauce and fresh lime; and jasmine rice made with master stock.
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Daytime views match Bluegold, but the effect of closed drapes and dim lighting make for a much more intimate vibe later in the day. And if you aren't a fan of rap music, keep in mind this is the soundtrack of choice inside LSXO— and we dig it. Mismatched seats, subtle accents mixed with chef's preferred music make for an appealing contrast to the bustle on the other side of those double doors. No matter what dining room you select, it'll be a change from what you've come to expect from the local dining scene.
Bluegold and LSXO are located at 21016 Pacific Coast Highway, Suite D200, Huntington Beach, (714) 374-0038; www.dinebluegold.com.