Nieuport 17 “Aviation” Pop-Up Dinners Taking Flight

The unofficial definition of a pop-up restaurant is one where a singular chef rules the back of the house of an establishment typically open during daylight hours only. Think Joseph Mahon's Wednesday-through-Saturday stints at downtown Fullerton's Rialto Cafe (until he announced his very own Burger Parlor brick-and-mortar being built). Like a game of telephone, word-of-mouth is the best source of current events. Or in our case, an informative email finding its way to my inbox.

Strategically cornered off Newport Avenue in Tustin, Nieuport 17 is possibly the last place we'd expect to find this avant garde concept. Yet management at N17 began staging such dinner parties since last November. Tommy behind the bar was pouring Moscow Mules decades before they were ever considered hipster, so who are we to judge?

Seating is between 40-80 diners, with table configuration consisting of a single row of communal tables down the center of their largest private dining room. Think Medieval king and queen at opposite ends, or Vicki Vale and Bruce Wayne for the pop culture set. Meals are three to four hours in length, with a minimum of four courses (plus wine pairings). Throwing more into the mix, they even rotate between a short list of chefs, anxious to showcase their skills.

The next Aviation dinner date is slated for Thursday, February 23. Guest chef Rick Boufford, formerly of Black Sheep Bistro, is at the helm. Featuring a fixed aquatic menu of salmon, shrimp, clam chowder and scallop, his previous two dinners quickly sold out once word traveled beyond the neighborhood. To make a reservation, or inquire further about the pop-up schedule, please call (714) 731-5130.

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