The 2015 Orange County Restaurant Week begins Sunday, March 1st and ends Saturday, March 7th with more than 100 restaurants participating in the countywide event. During the weeklong event, participating restaurants will offer special three-course menus, many with a cocktail or signature item at no additional charge. Each restaurant will have the freedom and flexibility to showcase its best offerings by talented chefs who will, no doubt, personalize each menu to reflect their individual culinary style. Participating restaurants will offer prix-fixe menus within the following price categories: lunch for $10, $15 or $20, and dinner for $20, $30, $40 or $50.
Yesterday’s OCRW launch party was held at the gorgeous ocean front Hilton Waterfront Resort, where the threat of rain forced the party indoors. Still, it was a blast and very well attended. Guests were able to try tastes from many of the participating restaurants, sip some amazing cocktails from Ketel One, Pyrat rum, and Patrón XO Cafe Incendio tequilas, which unfortunately I didn’t discover until we were being shooed out of the ballroom. As usual when you combine food bloggers, chefs, and spirits together, it’s hard to end the party.
KFI’s The Fork Report with Neil Saavedra interviewing owner Alicia Whitney and Chef Alexander Dale of SeaLegs Wine Bar in Huntington Beach.
My two top tastes at the event were the Truffle Ricotta Cannoli with celery root and chive from Cucina Enoteca and Jerome & Jose’s Jambalaya from TAPS Fish House & Brewery. They also happen to be two restaurants you can rely on for consistently delicious food, comfortable ambiance, and excellent service.
I’m excited that TAPS Brea features a foie forward dinner menu this year. Rather than package TAPS classics already familiar to guests, Chef Manny Gonzalez took a creative approach with dishes more likely to be featured at TAPS popular beer or wine dinners. Each course—appetizer, entrée, dessert—offers three choices. In each course, one of those dishes is a tribute to the return of foie gras to California menus: foie butter and jelly sandwich appetizer; foieducken as an entrée selection and a torchon treatment on the dessert choice of foie macaron. The three course dinner is priced at $40 per person, not including tax or gratuity.
“I see our Restaurant Week menu as an opportunity to be adventuresome, and for our culinary team and staff to have fun with some different approaches,” commented Gonzalez. “So we featured versions of foie in three dishes. There are another six choices on the special menu for guests who have other tastes.”
Cucina Enoteca Newport Beach (and Irvine) offers a $20 or $25 two-course lunch menu and three-course dinner menu for $30 which features their fabulous Daily Board – creamy mascarpone polenta with chef’s whim ragu, and a selection (choose from 7) of their fabulous brick oven pizzas.
With over 100 restaurants participating in this year’s OC Restaurant Week, too many to list here, please visit Orange County Restaurant Week’s website where the restaurants are listed in alphabetical order. The list is also searchable by name, city, and price point.