A Restaurant is Grade A Quality
Updated: Feb 26, 2021
A Restaurant (Newport Beach)
3334 W Pacific Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92663
Average cost: $$$
Parking: valet parking
Notes: outdoor patio dining with a festive feel; bring a coat for that evening beach breeze
The four of us decided we'd kick off December with an outdoor dining experience at A Restaurant after seeing that their outdoor patio/tent area was decked out for Christmas. A Restaurant has plenty of heat lamps throughout its outdoor patio dining areas, but there was an evening beach breeze, so we were glad to have multiple layers to keep warm.
Our evening began with a round of cocktails:
FREE FALLIN' - Chopin vodka, basil, lime, agave, served in an up glass with a cucumber garnish
A FOXY LADY - Absolut Elyx vodka, ginger, pineapple, lime, served in a chilled copper chalice-looking coupe
HOT N' SKINNY - Roca Patrón silver tequila, serrano chili, cucumber and lime
UPTOWN FUNK - Bulleit rye whiskey, spicy ginger shrub, lemon, honey, egg white, served with a lemon peel and delicious Luxardo Maraschino cherry
Uptown Funk was my favorite of the evening, so here's a close up of its frothy goodness:
Our waitress suggested a number of appetizers to split, so we started off with the SPICY YELLOWFIN TUNA served on mini beds of crispy eggplant and tossed in chili aioli and drizzled with sweet soy sauce. This is one of A Restaurant's most popular appetizers (and the only staple, whereas other apps rotate seasonally) and after tasting it, we could definitely see why - super tender and fresh fish, seasoned well, and the eggplant was very well done with a nice crisp batter. If you find the chili aioli off-putting, FYI, it was super mild and I didn't notice any spice or heat, just pleasant flavor.
Our second appetizer was just as good as the first, if not better - the OCTOPUS & PORK BELLY consists of grilled Spanish octopus that's so tender you can divvy it up with a spoon, flavorful fried pork belly, chorizo picante emulsion, pickled veggies aka the cutest mini orange and purple carrots, and piquillo pepper aioli. Once again, I didn't find any spice or heat in the dish, and it was very well balanced. P.S. Shoutout to Ryan for using his camera's flashlight for this photo lol:
Just when we thought things couldn't get any better, we tried A Restaurant's MEATBALLS, a hearty combo of pork, veal & beef, provolone cheese, spicy marinara, micro basil, and served with ciabatta toast perfect for soaking up the marinara sauce. You may be sensing a theme here, but again, I did not get any sense of spicy heat from the marinara sauce, so anyone who doesn't enjoy "spicy" shouldn't be discouraged from ordering this delicious dish.
Having enjoyed such delicious appetizers, all of us were very much looking forward to our entrées. We ended up with a classic surf n turf table: the gentlemen ordered boneless ribeye steaks, while the ladies ordered seafood:
MAINE DIVER SCALLOPS - served with California red chilis for beautiful pops of color, purple cauliflower, fingerling potato slices, all swimming in a vadouvan spicy curry. These scallops were large, savory, and super tender due to being seared to perfection. Usually my scallop quota hovers somewhere around 4-6 scallops, but these were so filling and so well done, I was content with having only 3. The vadouvan spicy curry sauce was mellow and sweet, so again, if you don't like spicy heat, you'll have no problem enjoying these succulent scallops.
And check out this beautiful ATLANTIC SALMON - perfectly pan seared salmon, shrimp bisque, fregola pasta, and sauteed rapini.
BONELESS RIBEYE STEAK - A Restaurant describes this as 1855 all natural beef and the highest marbling of their house cuts. The ribeye was terrifically tender and had so much flavor. Tim thoroughly enjoyed the compound butter and slathered it all over his steak. Our only regret was not digging into the accompanying garlic which we realized post editing (it was dark and we didn't realize what it was):
Our sides for the table (lol, yes, all four of us were hungry and decided to go all out) were the POTATO PUREE which consisted of clarified butter, heavy cream, and chives (fluffy smooth and delicious), and a creamy MAC N CHEESE which was blanketed in a thick cheese crust made of Hook's 4 year aged sharp white cheddar, raclette, and parmesan cheese.
Last but not least, what's a decadent dinner without an equally decadent dessert or three? Our BFF Ryan is the best at instigating dessert investigations - for science, of course - so the four of us split a sumptuous CHOCOLATE PUDDING, a slice of refreshing yet rich, MEYER LEMON CHEESECAKE, and a set of surprisingly delightful CORN MADELEINES with whipped cream and berries:
It was really hard to choose a favorite dessert. All three were delicious and very different from each other:
We ended the evening truly thankful for a delicious outing (last supper style before we enter into lockdown again) with wonderful company and a festive atmosphere! There wasn't a single thing we wouldn't gladly order again, and we'll be looking forward to a return visit next year.
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