I got a tip about a clandestine and secret restaurant from a reader named Steve.
Appropriately enough it's called “The Hidden Kitchen” — a project by two local couples. One pair (Jeff Dobkin and Julie Thompson-Dobkin) are the owners of Thompkin Cellars. Their partners are Jason Coulston and his wife Holly. Mr. Coulston is their chef, but people on Chowhound's L.A./O.C. bulletin board might recognize Mr. Coulston as one of their own.
Steve told me that the group was “looking for a restaurant space on the westside of Costa Mesa for a while now, couldn't find one and so ended up doing this “pop-up” version of a restaurant.”
My informant goes on to report that he was there on opening night, last Thursday, September 11th, with a party of six.
“Most of us ordered the sea bass, one person had the ribs. Apparently the ribs are a specialty….they looked great and the fish was a hit. For starters I had the charcuterie plate and most others had the heirloom tomato salad. All was delicious. Dessert offered was a choice between pot de crème or a cheese plate with house jam and figs, YUM.”
Here's the lowdown, written by the brains themselves.
The Hidden Kitchen is located at 750 St Clair in Costa Mesa (behind The Camp) and will be open for dinner on Thursdays and Fridays initially with Saturdays to follow shortly thereafter. Dinner service will start at 6:00 and the last diners will be seated at 9:00.
We will be taking over our friend Jack Flynn's “Rooster Cafe” at night and converting it into a casual, “Califrench” bistro. Jason Coulston will be our chef and partner, as will his wife Holly. Julie and I will run the front of the house.
The restaurant will feature a market driven menu with 2-3 apps, 2 entrees, a dessert and a cheese service. The menu will change every 2-3 weeks. There will be a set price of $35 per person for 3 courses.
The wine list will consist of a limited number of offbeat, high quality wines, all priced at under $45 and offered by the full and half bottle, as well as by the glass. Corkage will be $15 per bottle and Reidel stemware will be provided.
Call 714-662-5808 for reservations.
Seating is limited to about 26 people and we will be able accommodate special events.