Take a Trip Around the World During Restaurant Week
One of Newport Beach’s most highly anticipated events, Restaurant Week, where Orange County’s best and brightest chefs showcase their talents with special pre-fixe menus begins on January 15 and the restaurant line-up this year is heavenly.
With deliciously diverse experiences celebrating cuisine from different regions around the world, Restaurant Week gives foodies the chance to partake in a culinary adventure that doesn’t even require a passport.
Come along with me on an international journey to get an idea of what countries your itinerary might include this year during Restaurant Week.
Field-to-Fork in America
Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens, a unique field-to-fork dining experience, was a powerful addition to the Orange County culinary scene in 2016 and quickly became one of Newport’s most sought after reservations.
Through his relationships with the best local farms, trailblazer Chef Rich Mead uses the freshest, sustainable ingredients to create a cuisine you can feel good about devouring.
To tempt your palate a bit, Farmhouse dinner entree choices for Restaurant Week include your choice of seared sea scallops, crispy sage and brown butter, purèed roast maple bourbon butternut squash, roast spaghetti squash and cipollini onions or red wine-braised lamb shank, roast butternut squash, kale, cipollini onions and Teachapi Heritage Grain Project red fife and sonora, red wine lamb jus, gremolata and crispy sun choke chips.
Tucked away in a garden setting over seven acres and offering an exclusive wine list, craft beers, signature cocktails and artisan refreshments, the open-air cafe is a beautiful spot to cozy in with a loved one or friends and stay awhile.
The next stop on our trip takes us down to Guanajuato, Mexico where the delicious family recipes that had been in Mama Avila’s family for generations inspired the start of Avila’s El Ranchito over 50 years ago.
Their authentic Mexican cooking is served at the family’s thirteen restaurants, all of which are family-owned, operated and loved.
Two of Avila’s El Ranchito locations, Newport Beach and Corona del Mar, will feature a few customer favorites this Restaurant Week, including their California chicken over fire-roasted ortega chilies and onions served in a sizzling skillet or chile verde, tender chunks of pork simmered in a spicy green salsa.
To start, opt for a cup of Mama Avila’s famous chicken soup, arguably the best you might ever have.
La Vita è Bella
Life surely is beautiful as we venture to Italy and CUCINA enoteca in Fashion Island for an inventive California-inspired Italian menu where Italian classics take on a modern twist.
You won’t find spaghetti and meatballs on the menu here, what you will find is cuisine made with the freshest local, organic and sustainable ingredients like creamy mascarpone polenta with amoretti braised pork cheek, pepperonata, swiss chard, tomato and cipollini onion or one fo their specialty pizzas like date, ricotta and bacon pizza with smoked almond, arugula, parmesan and balsamic.
The 8,000-square-foot restaurant with its light and airy palate invites you to come in and relax in the beautiful al-fresco patio, communal seating areas, spacious bar or an intimate table depending on what the occasion calls for.
“Enoteca” which is an Italian word for “wine repository” is used to describe a special type of local or regional wine shop. When you enter CUCINA enoteca you will be greeted with a retail wine shop on a mission to offer exceptional wines at the best possible value. For a nominal $9 corkage fee you can pick up a bottle to enjoy with your meal or take to go.
May the Road Rise to Meet You
The road surely will rise to meet you with your trip to Muldoon’s Pub offering fresh Irish fare, pints and brews, wine, spirits and a guaranteed good time.
For Restaurant Week, Muldoon’s will showcase favorite Irish specialities like shepherd’s pie, a delicious meat, vegetable and herb recipe topped with a mashed potato crust and baked ’til golden. Or perhaps you might want to go with the fish & chips, made with fresh red snapper in their signature beer batter and served with hand-cut fresh pub fries, homemade tartar sauce, malt vinegar and lemon.
If the luck of the Irish is with you, live music is also on the menu many nights at Muldoon’s. Check their event calendar for dates and times.
This is How We Roll
Next stop on our international culinary tour is Sushi Roku where you will find sushi rolls and Japanese cuisine taken to an entirely new level.
Touted as the pioneer of contemporary sushi, Sushi Roku offers a diverse menu that includes traditional Japanese dishes along with inclusion of other vibrant global flavors like jalapeños and olive oil creating edible works of art.
The Restaurant Week special dinner menu includes choices such as the five-piece Roku signature style sushi of tuna, salmon, yellowtail, sea bream and king crab rolls or grilled salmon with BBQ sauce, mashed potatoes and hijiki seaweed.
Certified sake sommeliers and mixologists round out the Sushi Roku experience with hand-crafted beverages to complement the extraordinary cuisine.
The above mentioned restaurants are a small sampling of the international culinary offerings available during the Newport Beach Restaurant Week. A full list of participants can be found here. Enjoy your trip!
Written by Jennifer Scheumann