Restaurant Week is back, but not for long! Oh, happy, joyful, week.
My most favorite dining event has returned until this Friday, March 3rd. It only happens once a year, so be sure to check it out.
Restaurants from Fullerton to Laguna Beach will be offering pre-selected multi-course menus with set pricing. You typically have a choice between two dishes per course, sometimes more depending on the restaurant. Lunches are priced from $10 to $20 while dinners are priced from $20 to $40. Wow, what a deal! Below are my favorites, in alphabetical order, along with a glimpse at their main course selections to wet your whistle.
For further information, including an interactive restaurant selection tool (price – city – restaurant), click on the link Orange County Restaurant Week.
AnQi (Costa Mesa) $20 lunch – Main Course Choices: Soy Glazed Salmon Salad with savoy cabbage, Mango Tiato dressing. An’s Famous Garlic Noodles With Beef. Half Turmeric Roasted Cornish Game Hen with Wild Arugula, Caramelized Sweet potato, Pistachio. (Famous Garlic Noodles With Beef – swoon.)
AnQi (Costa Mesa) $40 dinner – Main course choices: Duo of New York Strip and Braised Sweet Shoyu Short Rib with Cilantro Aioli, Arugula, pickled Shitake Mushrooms. Soy Glazed Salmon with Green Tea noodles, Red endive and Wasabi Miso Ponzu. (Duo of New York Strip and Braised Sweet Shoyu Short Rib, I am coming to get ya.)
Charlie Palmer (Costa Mesa) $30 dinner – Main course options: Seafood Risotto with sautéed shrimp, calamari, squid ink croutons, citrus butter sauce, scallions, or Red Wine Braised Short Rib with garlic potato purée, sautéed spinach, baby carrots, surf & turf ($10 supplement). (Risotto with shrimp, get in my belly.)
Cucina Enoteca (Irvine) $30 dinner – Main course choices: Choose from the following pizzas: Honey roasted eggplant + herb goat cheese. Pear + gorgonzola. Margherita. From the garden. Meatball + mozzarella di bufala. Pepperoni + fennel sausage. Foraged mushroom. Speck + pineapple. (Getting really hungry right about here.)
Katsuya (Laguna Beach ) $40 dinner – Main course choice: Hot Tasting Menu featuring Creamy Rock Shrimp Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna Robata Selection: Pee Wee Potato, Negima, Tsukune. (Sushi = Spicy Tuna Robata love.)
LUCCA (Irvine) $15 lunch – Main course choices: Grilled all natural chicken breast. All natural pulled pork shoulder sandwich. Blackened rib eye steak wrap with caramelized sweet onions. Pappardelle egg noodles with Mediterranean chicken sausage. Veggie lasagna. (Caramelized sweet onions, you can never go wrong.)
Memphis at the Santora (Santa Ana) $15 lunch – Main course choices: the cobra fried chicken sandwich with bacon, cheddar, ranch, matchstick fries. Buttermilk fried chicken, potato pancake, mustard greens, country gravy. Southern meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, red wine gravy. Popcorn shrimp tacos, pepper jack cheese, chipotle aioli, fresh corn salsa. (Thank you sweet Diego, thank you for this line up.)
Memphis at the Santora (Santa Ana) $20 dinner – Main course choices: Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Southern Meatloaf Stack, Hickory Smoked Barbecue, Cornmeal Fried Catfish. (Buttermilk Fried Chicken just like Mama used to make.)
The Ritz Restaurant & Garden (Newport Beach) $20 lunch – Main Course Choices: Chicken Piccata floured and sautéed with zucchini, yellow squash & lemon caper sauce, or Seafood Mixed Grill of scallops, prawns, swordfish, and halibut served with Remoulade, or Medallions of Pan seared Pepper Crusted Filet Mignon with “Diane”" sauce and ritz potatoes.” (excellent service here, rain or shine. Did you know they will be moving soon?)
The Ritz Restaurant & Garden (Newport Beach) $40 dinner – Main Course Choices: Breaded Chicken Parmesan Breast with plum tomatoes, baked with mozzarella and fresh parmesan,or Pan Sautéed Australian Seabass served over fresh asparagus with zucchini, yellow squash, and lemon caper sauce, or 8oz. Prime Sirloin & Broiled Prawns with fingerling potatoes and asparagus spears. (Surf and turf, all the way baby.)
The Winery Restaurant (Tustin) $15 lunch – $15 2 course or $20 3 course. Main Course Choices: The Winery Corkscrew Pasta with grilled Sonoma chicken, baby artichokes, oven dried tomatoes, and basil pesto, or Grilled Alaskan King Salmon in basil and lemon oil sauce vierge with quinoa tabouleh, or Roast Prime Rib-Roquefort Cheese Panini with blue cheese and mozzarella. (Roquefort Cheese Panini – I’ll take two.)
The Winery Restaurant (Tustin) $40 dinner – Main Course Choices: USDA Prime Cajun Flatiron Steak with black truffle mashed potatoes and Bordelaise sauce, or Grilled Alaskan King Salmon in basil and lemon oil sauce vierge with organic quinoa tabouleh, or Zinfandel Braised Angus Beef Short rib with prosciutto wrapped asparagus, carrot infused pearl couscous, and Zinfandel reduction. (Black truffle mashed potatoes – heck ya.)
Zimzala (Huntington Beach) $30 dinner – Main Course Choices: Irish Organic Salmon with tarragon-scented pearl couscous and baby heirloom tomato sambal, or Black Salt-crusted Skirt Steak with yukon potato puree, french beans mushroom supreme, and petite onions, or Parsnip Tagliatelle Pasta with sage and brown butter, golden chanterelles, camembert, thyme espuma, and crisp parsnip. (I hear you can choose between a vanilla crème brulee with fresh raspberries or German chocolate waffle with caramel and almond coffee ice cream. Bites knuckles.)
It is going to be a busy week.
Remember to tip your server well. It’s just the nice thing to do.