Holiday Menus in Newport Beach
The holidays are a time for tradition, especially when it comes to dining. While many restaurants offer traditional Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menus, some celebrate seasonal cuisine throughout the holidays. That cuisine can vary from familiar fare to foods from a bygone era.
Perhaps the oldest holiday menu tradition in Newport Beach is the Roast Christmas Goose at The Ritz Restaurant. They’ve been serving this seasonal fowl every winter for more than three decades, and it seems to get better with age. The goose comes with lingonberry sauce, celery root, mashed potatoes, warm gala apple compote, and sweet & sour red cabbage. Dinner price is $40, lunch is $30. A perfect accompaniment to the goose is pinot noir, and The Ritz has two excellent selections by the glass: Benton Lane Pinot Noir ($14) and Acacia Pinot Noir ($12).
Other seasonal specials at The Ritz include Osso Buco ($46), served with fettuccine pasta & veal jus, a Traditional Bavarian Sauerbraten ($34) served with German potato pancakes, sweet and sour red cabbage, and gingersnap sauce laced with sour cream, and Bouillabaisse Pasta ($39) with lobster, shrimp, crab, scallops, monkfish, mussels and clams, all simmered in a tomato saffron broth over linguine pasta.
The Ritz also has special holiday desserts, including the Ritz’s signature Roasted Hazelnut Soufflé sauced tableside with Frangelico Crème Anglaise. Or, try the sensational Gingersnap Pumpkin Cheesecake over a Bourbon-infused caramel sauce with a dollop of cinnamon whipped cream. They’ve also got a sinful Viennese Apple & Pear “Strudel” served with eggnog sauce and rum raisin ice cream.
This may be the last time diners will be able to enjoy the goose dinner, as The Ritz is closing its doors in February, so make a reservation soon by visiting RitzRestaurant.com.
Another longstanding tradition (25+ years) is the famous Dickens Christmas celebration, which takes place at Muldoon’s Pub December 13 through Christmas Eve. The restaurant goes all out with festive décor, authentic period costuming for the staff, and traditional Irish fare similar to what Charles Dickens might have enjoyed while writing “A Christmas Carol” (if he had lived in Ireland instead of England).
Executive Chef Sindi Rae adds her special touch each year to her traditional menu, which includes Roasted Christmas Duckling with clementine and pomegranate glaze, and Black Bush Stew served with baby lamb chops and a short shot of Black Bush Whiskey. There’s also roasted chestnuts, and Muldoon’s famous Wassail–holiday mulled wine served with lady apples and cinnamon bark in snifters. Or try Sindi’s Bog Nog made with bourbon and freshly grated nutmeg. And for dessert, you can’t do better than Sindi’s Dark Chocolate Pudding—although we love the traditional trifle. Oh—don’t forget the homemade soda bread to start—it’s addicting.
Most entrees are $15 to $25. We sampled the holiday menu last year and can’t wait to go back again this year. For more information, visit Muldoonspub.com.
If you’ve had your fill of turkey, head to Bluewater Grill, where their motto this holiday is “stuff a lobster, not a turkey.” This is a special promotion that Bluewater does every year, and has become very popular with diners. It features a whole Maine lobster stuffed with a shrimp and buttery panko-crumb stuffing, and served with either New England or Manhattan clam chowder, two sides, unlimited fresh sourdough bread, and a Bluewater Grill bib. The price is $29.95.
We tried the stuffed lobster dinner recently and loved it. If you’re ready to mix your love of seafood and Thanksgiving classics together, this is the place to do it. The flavors of the lobster, shrimp and stuffing went perfectly together. They have two wines that work well with dish: Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, and St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley.
For more information on Bluewater Grill, visit bluewatergrill.com.