In the Know: Secrets on the Restaurant Scene

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By Alina Orozco and Newport Beach Magazine Staff

 

Donut Burger

Bosscat Kitchen & Libations

With more than 200 whiskeys, deep-fried meatloaf squares and red velvet beignets, Bosscat’s offerings are aplenty—guests might not even want to venture off-menu at this industrial-chic concept spot just a few blocks from the airport. But when you do, the restaurant outdoes its decadent options with the lesser-known Donut Burger. One of chef Peter Petro’s specials, the mashup burger features doughnuts as buns to hold together the beef, cheese and bacon. Even though it’s not on the menu, if you ask nicely, the kitchen may oblige. (949-333-0917; bosscatkitchen.com)

 

Burger steak tartare at Provenance | Photo courtesy of Provenance
Burger steak tartare at Provenance | Photo courtesy of Provenance

Burger Steak Tartare

Provenance

Executive Chef Cathy Pavlos serves a signature burger on the menu at Provenance in the Eastbluff Village Center. Made with a blend of four hand-cut beefs—certified Angus beef short rib, tri-tip, American Kobe-style and rib-eye steak—along with toppings of caramelized onions, chard, Gruyere cheese and tomato jam, it’s undoubtedly a popular choice. What guests might not know is it can be ordered as a tartare: The same 7-ounce burger is hand-chopped and served raw with a cage-free egg yolk, sea salt and an array of five different spreads atop a garlic-rubbed wooden board. Pavlos named it after her European guests who originally requested it by calling it the Euro—pronounced “ay-ur-o.” (949-718-0477; provenanceoc.com)

Pizze Bianche at Pizzeria Sapori
Pizze Bianche at Pizzeria Sapori

Pizze Bianche

Pizzeria Sapori

Pepperoni pies are the last thing you’ll find on the menu at Pizzeria Sapori, located on the other side of the bar in Sapori Ristorante in the Bayside Shopping Center. It may be overwhelming to scan the list of authentic offerings, so skip the menu altogether and instead order a “pizze bianche” (white pizza). A couple of options are the quattro formaggi or signature Sapori. For the latter, grape tomatoes, mozzarella, grilled eggplant, zucchini, pecorino, basil and extra-virgin olive oil is layered on the crust, which is handmade by chef Sal Maniaci and cooked in an authentic pizza oven, transporting taste buds to Italy. (949-644-4220; pizzeriasapori.com)

Speakeasy at Five Crowns | Photo by Jody Tiongco
Speakeasy at Five Crowns | Photo by Jody Tiongco

Speakeasy Sips

Five Crowns

From the outside, Five Crowns looks like a replica of a charming English inn. Everyone who dines there knows about the prime rib, but the 50-year Corona del Mar landmark has a secret inside: the speakeasy on the second level, which serves absinthe cocktails complete with a sugar cube. This hidden gem, dimly lit to inspire hushed conversation, is a throwback to the good old days of Prohibition; the phrase “speak easy” is embraced throughout the exclusive experience. The lounge is only open on select evenings and guests must RSVP in advance—just don’t ask the hostesses or servers for help getting in. (949-760-0331; lawrysonline.com)

Chef Jonathan Blackford at A Restaurant | Photo by Jody Tiongco
Chef Jonathan Blackford at A Restaurant | Photo by Jody Tiongco

Chef’s Mercy

A Restaurant

The menu at A Restaurant changes regularly; everyday guests are always kept on their toes when they peer over the offerings. Returning patrons can take the suprise element one step further with the dinner option called Chef’s Mercy. Guests aren’t offered a menu—instead, they place themselves at the mercy of Executive Chef Jonathan Blackford for a dinner that includes five to six courses. Available any night with a reservation, the dinner costs $75 per person. (949-650-6505; arestaurantnb.com)

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