OC Restaurant Week starts next week (Feb. 28-March 6) and there are a bevy of restaurants and menu choices to go through. If you asked me where I would go and what I would try, here's what I'd say (in alphabetical order):
1. Brasserie Pascal – $30 for a three-course dinner. Out of the three main-course options, I would opt for the rainbow trout Meuniere, a classic French brasserie dish from a classic French brasserie.
2. SOL Cocina – $15 for a three-course lunch. The entree choices include their street tacos, but I'd stay away from those. They tend to be too small to be worth the expense (besides, you know where to get tacos, right?). I'd focus on their tres leches cake. It's a shame it doesn't come with their with piloncillo (raw, unprocessed sugar) caramel though. They save that for their dinner dessert.
3. Stonehill Tavern – $40 for a three-course dinner. I would make it a point to visit Stonehill for their root beer float alone. It's offered as one of their dessert options. This is not just a drug store root beer float, but a well-constructed gourmet root beer float (yes, there is such a thing, and it is this). Plus it comes with warm chocolate chip cookies, for free!
4. The Crow Bar and Kitchen – $15 for two course lunch. A gastropub like Crow Bar should do well with the burgers. I'd get me a nice, fat patty cooked medium, which they describe as being served “under a ciabatta bun, (with) tallegio & gorgonzola cheese, roasted tomato marmalade, wild rocket,” and fries. Of course, fries.
5. Watermarc – $10 lunch. Again, I would opt for the meat and potatoes here. They usually do well with red meat, as evidenced by a trio of filet mignon I had there once. The grilled skirt steak lunch with mushroom confit, brandy peppercorn sauce, and fries is already making me salivate.
…and yes, I'm seriously considering Medieval Times too, if only for nostalgia (I haven't been in ages) and because it's practically half-price!