Technically, it’s more like restaurant weeks, since NBRW started on the 16th and lasts through this Sunday. While many places offer lunch options, the high majority of them serve a dinner version. And instead of making predictions as to whether something will taste good based on a written description, our trio is based on past visits of trying these dishes. We recommend the following three establishments for dinner, but you don’t have to take our word for it.
The Ritz Prime Seafood
For the $50 price tag, we were curious to see if Ritz would deliver in cuisine as well as the overall experience. We dropped by last week to find out. Chef George Neyra gave a trio of options for both our first and second course, leaving dessert as a surprise. While a kale salad or Spanish octopus sounded like a good place (read: healthy) to start, the foie gras torchon had our name on it. Decorated with strawberries, Balinese peppercorns and sassafras root reduction, our indulgence was worth the guilt we would experience tomorrow.
Next up, the choice between Jidori chicken, sea bass and our photographed prime filet. Why get chicken unless you have to? Our love of squash blossoms made it a no-brainer. Eyeing the dish, we were reminded of chef’s culinary background, which included working for Michael Mina. The attention to plating and restraint from using too many ingredients made an impact from the moment it arrived at our table. The medium-rare meat sliced with no hesitation, resulting in a quick disappearance. The night’s dessert was a white chocolate panna cotta. Delicate and light, we found it to be an appropriate ending to a rich meal.
Now, we should point out that it’s tough to eat at a place like this and not order a glass of wine to go with our meal. Foie and a glass of “Newport flat” just doesn’t cut it for us. Once you factor that in, plus valet, there’s still tax and gratuity. Our service was exceptional, making the price tag worth our while. One should visit if they are comfortable spending more than just the $50. 2801 West Coast Highway, (949) 720-1800; www.ritzprimeseafood.com.
Sessions West Coast Deli
Going from one end of the dining spectrum to the other, Sessions has by far the best deal at night. In fact, it’s cheaper than the $20 category. Select ANY sandwich or salad, add a side, then one of their homemade cookies and a glass of wine or craft beer. All this for the extra reasonable price of $15! Man, we’d be satisfied with a sammich and cookie combo. Their shaka spuds are always a reliable bet for a side, and fresh baked bread delivered daily makes everything better. Gluten-free options? Check!
Instead of rambling on about their tasty menu, we’ll give you the next best thing. We’ll provide the link to Edwin’s review of Sessions when it opened in Huntington Beach in late 2015. Oh, and here’s when we put them in our Top 5 Restaurants of 2014. Check ’em out. 2823 Newport Boulevard, (949) 220-9001; www.sessionswcd.com.
In neighboring Corona del Mar, the kitchen helmed by Chef Steve Kling experienced a menu revamp in 2015, right around the time of their 50th anniversary. Then last year, the Five Crowns dining area and exterior received a makeover. Their version of the restaurant week menu is a nod to both classics and newer plates. Unless the weather is chilly, opt for the Pride of the Crowns salad to start; its herbs de Provence dressing unifies all the components. For the $50 price point, go ahead and do prime rib. Because prime rib (plus your choice of two sides). We trust you’ll request the best cut.
To finish, go beyond a sundae and taste their Meyer lemon steam cake. Finished with champagne berries, it is a delightful mix of both sweet and tart. Definitely Top 100 material. And while this may seem pricey, think of it as an investment towards your well-being. 3801 East Coast Highway, (949) 760-0331; www.lawrysonline.com.