Since moving down to OC, I've literally been waiting 5 months for Whole Foods Market to open up in Fashion Island, Newport Beach. Last Wednesday, September 19th was the glorious day, when I finally stepped foot into my favorite, local, organic playground (I missed you old friend).
From the fire-pit patio to the new "Tea Hive" fusion concept cafe and new "Back Bay Tavern", now I know where I'll be spending every Friday night.
The Tavern features 25+ beers (some draft, some bottled), $2 off Happy Hour Beer specials til 7pm, wines like Hitching Post Pinot Noir, and food from Kale Salads to Burgers – all served atop a 1930's Mahogany bar originally from a Harlem gin joint, which later appeared in the movie "Revolutionary Road". (Regular booths, table and outside seating are available for non-celebs too.)
- perfectly shredded, light 'n sweet with mild bitterness, Mediterranean Cal Organic Chopped Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing $9
- skip the Chips and go straight for the nice golden crunch, fluffy center Local Brew Battered Fish with killer Red Pepper Aioli Dip served on traditional newspaper $11
- buttery texture, light fresh 'n simple, Sashimi Plate with 2 pieces each of Tuna, Salmon, and Albacore $10
- same as above with spicy Wasabi surprise and delicate rice, Nigiri Sampler with Tuna, Salmon, and Albacore $12
Overall I was very impressed with the Tavern. It's removed enough in its own wing with outdoor patio seating, so you don't feel like you're at a grocery store. And the bartenders, especially "Tiny", couldn't be friendlier.
I'm so glad to have a "Cheers" bar in my neighborhood, where I guarantee, everyone will know my name.
P.S. Did I mention the seafood bar sells Sea Urchin? (Try saying that 5 times in a row.)
415 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660. 949-999-8572.