I'd been to the first location in LA for a Christmas party a couple years back. So, when I found out it was coming to the OC, my taste buds were overjoyed.
The Newport location is not just a place to eat, but rather quite the scene from the circular driveway valet to the dramatic foyer with symmetrically up-lit bottles and the lavish dining room.
The service is just what you'd expect from a white linen tablecloth restaurant, attentive and on point.
And the food, while a bit pricey, is unique and memorable.
- tastes like sweet roasted corn chowder with chiles 'n cheese, Mexican Street Corn deconstructed with Cotija Cheese and Serrano Cilantro Crema $8
- warm, lightly salted 'n fried Tortilla Chips with bright lime Cilantro Verde and spicy smokey Red Chile Salsa
- crunchy with a kick Classic Guacamole with Chopped Onion, Radish, Tomato, Cilantro, Serrano Chiles & Fresh Lime Juice $10
- meat is tender perfection while mole could use some sweetness to cut the bitter espresso-like flavor, Wood-Grilled Lamb Chop Mole Negro with Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Lollipop Kale, Caramelized Onion & Nut Crunch $36
- favorite bite of the nite with everything my corazon desired, Braised Short Rib Enchiladas with Red Gaujillo Chile Sauce, Monterey Jack, Frisee, Mexican Red Rice & Black Beans $20
- fluffy warm 'n crunchy with a generous sprinkling of cinnamon sugar heaven, Just-Made Churros with Chocolate-Kahlua dipping sauce $10
After finishing our meal that Friday night, upon walking out I couldn't help but notice how unbelievably packed the place was. The sheer amount of people reminded me of Javier's in Newport Coast, but the caliber of food, drink, and service blows them out of the agua any day.
P.S. Don't miss the $45 Sunday Brunch Buffet from 11am to 3pm. Add $20pp to make those drinks endless from Bloody Marys to Tequila Sunrises, Sangria and Mimosas.
143 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660. 949-718-0300.