My Valentine's gift to you? My forks down, favorite new restaurant in all of OC – Juliette Kitchen & Bar. (And to think, it only took me 11 months to discover what feels like home, since moving here from LA.)
Tomorrow night, they're serving a special four-course $65 Prix Fixe Valentine's Day Menu. Make sure to hurry up and call because only a few tables are left.
Juliette is a gem sans ridiculous prices and stuffiness. The menu boasts crafty cocktails, an international wine list (with adjoining wine merchant), bold beers, and most importantly, seasonal, rustic, clean food, all wrapped up in modern elegance.
Located in Pascal's former space off Bristol, don't let the strip mall fool you. Walk inside and you're greeted by a beautiful bar, natural woods, and crystal chandeliers.
Sit down for a meal, and soon you'll notice there's a reason why they give you a fresh spoon with every dish.
The hand model and I ordered 2 cocktails, 4 appetizers, and 1 entree with no room for dessert. Although reluctant at first, we still picked up that spoon to shamelessly lap up every last morsel and jus. And even though we left full, we didn't feel heavy, which is always a great sign the chef is using fresh ingredients without overdoing it on the salt or butter.
- flavors blend beautifully, sweet, spicy, acidic, fuzzy, crunchy 'n creamy Grilled Pear Salad with Burrata, Arugula, Toasted Hazelnut & Red Wine Vinaigrette $12
- genius, healthy whole grain substitutes for arborio rice, milky smooth, soft 'n creamy, just needed a touch more cheese, Farro Risotto with Baby Squash, Trumpet Mushrooms, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes & Herbs $11
- curry is prominent, sweet 'n sour, buttery hot skillet of Roasted Cauliflower, Dried Cherries, Marcona Almonds, Curry & Chive $10
- broth is so out of this world they could serve it as soup, ridiculously clean 'n tender, spicy with a nicely charred sourdough, P.E.I. Mussels with Sweet Onion, Chorizo, Herbs & Harissa Butter $12
- falls right off the bone, viking sized portion, gravy-like comforting sauce, Braised Pork Shank with Kabocha Squash, Roasted Cinnamon Apple, Radicchio, Pancetta & Ginger-Pork Jus $26
- watch out for the first sip 'cuz it packs a strong punch, Risico with Nolet's Gin, Pimm's No 1, Campari & Soda $12
- orange zesty with an ice ball that helps cut the bite, Cardamom Old Fashioned with Templeton Rye, Bitters & Vanilla Simple $12
One thing I regret is that we didn't order the Turkish Coffee Pot de Creme with Black & White Spiced Cookies $9.
I don't need to tell you I'll be returning soon. I'm sure you can gather that from the much deservingly glowing review.
Bon Appetit indeed!
1000 Bristol St. North, Suite 11, Newport Beach, CA 92660. 949-752-5854.