Last week the hand model took me out for a birthday surprise dinner at newly-opened The Winery Restaurant in Newport Beach. Located in the old Villa Nova spot, the already multiple award-winning restaurant has had a major face-lift with modern accents (same contracter as Charlie Palmer's & Pizzeria Mozza), a 14-foot high glass private wine locker, high top bar, and expansive views of the bay.
We were seated in a booth right on the window. It offered loads of entertainment from grandiosely expensive yachts passing by to the oncoming tipsy Duffy drivers trying to pull into the valet dock.
The crowd was chic and the music overhead ranged from piano jazz to old school Ice Cube.
Our service was superb from the changing of silverware at each course to our waitress who suggested not to look at the menu before learning the specials because it could change our plan entirely.
- wish there was more of the sweet 'n tender scallops, could've eaten a whole bowl of the creamy risotto with a spicy kick, reduction is better suited for steak, Jumbo Maine Scallops and Wild White Shrimp with Saffron Roasted Red Pepper Edamame Bean Risotto & Crispy Proscuitto $32.95
- same reduction as the scallops, meat has medium thickness, couscous is clean 'n spongey, Slow Braised Angus Beef Shortrib with Zinfandel Reduction, Carrot infused Pearl CousCous & Proscuitto Wrapped Asparagus $29.95
- heaven on the lips, hell for the hips, creamy, cheesy, buttery goodness with squash to break up the richness, Gratin Dauphinois with Butternut Squash & Potatoes $9.95
- classic, rich with bountiful berries and thick crust, Seasonal Cheesecake with Mixed Berry Coulis & Zinfandel Reduction $9.95
Having been to both locations, I honestly don't know how anyone could return to Tustin. The Newport Beach location offers so much more like 10,000 square feet and a second story patio overlooking a view that can't be beat.
3131 W. Pacific Coast Highway, Newport Beach, CA 92663. 949-999-6622.