12 The NaTioNal CuliNary review • MarCh 2018
neWPort Beach dining well—with a view
A Restaurant is a steakhouse. The top-sellers are
the 1855 brand prime Angus filet mignon and the
boneless rib-eye. Blackford serves the Japanese A5
Miyazaki specialty beef rare—at what he considers
a value price of $18 per ounce.
Examples of his eclectic approach to the menu
include pork schnitzel and housemade bratwurst
with sour cream spätzle. He grew up in in Pittsburgh,
home to many Central European cuisines. “Because
I like these foods, and there isn’t much German
cuisine in Southern California, I’ve introduced our
guests to them,” he says.
The Beachcomber on
Newport Beach can surprise diners. How about
a restaurant that you access through a tunnel under the famous Coast Highway?
The Beachcomber is in a renovated cottage on the beach. The neighboring cottages
are historic rental units in Crystal Cove Historic District, Crystal Cove State Park.
“The walk to the ocean is part of the charm, though there is a shuttle bus every
seven minutes from the parking lot,” says Tad Belshe, vice president of operations.
“People coming here expect ‘tourist,’ and they are pleasantly surprised to find food
with diverse tastes, flavors and techniques.”
The restaurant interior is small, with only 25 seats. But the all-season deck
seats about 125 under a heated tent, with blankets on the chairs. The Beachcomber
changes its menu according to Belshe’s and chef Carlos Olivera’s creative impulses. “When we
travel, we bring home ideas to cook,” says Belshe. “We were among the first to serve tiny ahi
tacos in a wonton wrap shaped liked a taco. After enjoying the lamb in Ireland last year, we
menued lamb loin with mint pesto on gnocchi.”
Classic tomato soup gets a makeover with a baked blue-cheese puff-pastry “crown.” The most
popular entrees include blue crab-stuffed salmon and braised short ribs in red wine sauce with
walnut/Gorgonzola ravioli. “We borrow from classics, like our chili, a riff off long-closed Chasen’s
of Hollywood,” Belshe says.
Overlooking the patio and beach, The Bootlegger Bar plays a key role at The Beachcomber. Here
guests sip one of “The Jars,” such as the Big Bad Bloody Mary served in a mason jar. The watermelon
Mojitos, Mexican lagers and margaritas are also popular. But the Tonga Lei, the winning cocktail
from a recent Beachcomber bartender competition, is another guest favorite, served in a tiki mug.
Lido Marina Village dining
Lido Marina Village was a major Newport Beach dining draw from the 1970s through
the 1990s. Conceived as a venue for pedestrian-friendly shopping and dining, Warehouse, a
Polynesian-themed restaurant, anchored the marina until it closed in 1998. Recent renovations
have revitalized the area and launched a new culinary scene.
Zinqué opened in Lido Marina Village in late 2016. The name reflects the traditional French
bistro zinc bar, a key element of the interior design. Zinqué Newport Beach is an outpost of the
small Venice, California-based cafe group.
Known for European pastries, sandwiches, appetizers, hot dishes and salads, Zinqué is a top
Newport Beach brunch spot. Co-owner Kristin Dossetti calls the restaurant “a community hub in
aBove, toP: the grand cordon Bar
at nobu newport Beach.
aBove, Bottom: the
oPPosite, left to right: Burrata
and charcuterie with salad at Zinqué,
where many tables have a view.