Savor Summer Flavor

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Enjoy summer starters like the grilled Colorado lamb ribs, which are served with black cherry mustard, at Five Crowns in Corona del Mar. | Photo by Anne Watson

Five Crowns adds some flair to the season with fresh, on-point ingredients.

By Ashley Ryan

 

Summer food is all about the flavor, and that’s a concept that Alejandra Padilla, the executive chef at Five Crowns, has perfected. From seasonal dishes to summertime cocktails, the newest offerings at this upscale, British-inspired steakhouse tempt the taste buds and delight the mind.

First up, opt for a light cocktail, perfect for sipping on warm days. There are five seasonal options to choose from, though if you’re looking for something refreshing that is still packed with flavor, try the Grass Roots, a drink featuring a unique lemongrass-infused vodka mixed with elderflower liqueur, raspberry and rhubarb bitters. The berry notes shine through, making for a sweet treat to enjoy before your meal.

Some other pre-meal drink options include the Bittersweet Italian, a gin drink crafted with strawberry-infused Campari and egg white that is served in a martini glass. Those looking for something with more of a kick should sample the Sunshine in Fashion, a bold blend of reposado tequila, turbinado syrup, and rhubarb and orange bitters.

Once you’ve settled in to the plush atmosphere—think classy yet comfortable armchairs, patterned wallpaper and wooden accents—with a cocktail in hand, you’ll feel right at home.

The blackened scallops on the summer menu come with a stone fruit chutney. | Photo by Anne Watson

Soon will come the time to peruse the summer food menu, and there are plenty of options to choose from. Padilla has crafted a mix of small plates, soups, salads, main dishes, sides and desserts for diners to indulge in this season. One unique way to go is the grilled Colorado lamb ribs, served with a black cherry mustard that offers an endless abundance of fruit flavor. With four to plate, this is a great item for groups to share, and offers something a little different to try. Other shareable items include the salads, of which the stone fruit and burrata stands out. Made with puffed quinoa, and served with a lavender and blueberry vinaigrette, this dish has all of the flavor of the season without the calories.

Other summer options to start with include a truffled corn soup, soft-shell crab with diced mango and pickled Fresno chili, or the ricotta ravioli with heirloom tomatoes.

But it’s the main dishes that really shine, dominating the menu with their seasonal influence. Those that love to dine from the sea will enjoy the mouthwatering blackened scallops, enhanced with the flavors of summer thanks to a stone fruit chutney. Finished off with prosciutto and sauteed spinach, this meal has a little bit of everything.

For dessert, opt for the coconut pie with fresh bananas. | Photo by Anne Watson

Other popular seafood dishes include the lobster and crab carbonara, which features a house-made squid ink pasta tossed with tomato, basil and Thai chili, and the branzino, served with a summer vegetable ratatouille in a red pepper sauce with a scallion potato pancake.

If it’s items from land that you prefer, there are two options: the Jidori chicken or the grilled short rib. The latter is a rich dish paired with smoked tomato, Worcestershire reduction and warm horseradish cream, while the chicken is a bit of lighter far, accompanied by Parmesan fondue and one summer vegetable that is often underappreciated in fine dining settings: corn.

Pair any of these dishes with summer eggplant or roasted broccolini, or opt for one of the everlasting side dishes, like asparagus, potato au gratin, wild mushrooms or Yorkshire pudding.

But don’t forget to end your night right, with a sweet treat. For the chocolate lovers out there, the dessert menu features a chocolate cherry cake with melted black cherries, while those looking for a quintessential summer delicacy can opt for the blueberry and nectarine cobbler, served with lemon verbena ice cream. If you’ve had your fill but still want a last bite, consider sharing the coconut pie: paired with layers of fresh banana, caramelized rice crispy treats and pineapple sauce on a tiny pie crust, it’s the perfect ending to a flavorful summer meal.

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