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Dining Guide for Families in Orange County

Hidden Gem in Orange County: Oak Grill

We dined as a guest of Oak Grill

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The best-kept secrets are never where you’d expect to find them, and that is the case with the cuisine being served at Oak Grill in Newport Beach. Located inside of the Island Hotel, Chef Marc Johnson is pushing the culinary boundaries by creating fresh and flavorful dishes for guests dining at the restaurant.

During a recent staycation, we dined at Oak Grill and had one of the most memorable dining experiences we’ve had in a long time. We dined al fresco on the outdoor patio with twinkling lights hanging above from a large tree. The setting was perfect for a romantic dinner, and the food that we ate is what took the evening to a higher level.

Our epicurean adventure began with a tandoori-spiced ahi tartare with crisp Asian pears, California avocado, cucumber and curry oil. While I have never been a huge fan of ahi I quickly learned why – I’ve never gotten a chance to have a dish that truly brings out the rich flavor of the seafood. The crispy crust of the ahi gave it a perfect texture that satisfied my palate, and the dish was the perfect prelude to our meal.

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I stepped outside of my traditional salad selection and was in for a treat with the spinach and frisée salad. The salad came prepared with a poached egg that was seasoned to perfection on a bed of spinach and frisée. The crispy shallots and warm saba vinaigrette was paired exquisitely with the flavors of the poached egg. It is one of my new all-time favorite salads, and I don’t recommend leaving Oak Grill without ordering one to go along with your meal.

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The chef was full of surprises especially with the tender beef cheek he prepared for us. While it is traditionally short ribs on the menu, the chef had gotten some rare beef cheek that he was able to substitute for the short ribs. The beef cheek is an incredibly tender piece of meat that was paired with blue corn grits, portobello mushrooms, and sauce bordelaise.

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Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, we were served a perfect piece of Alaskan Halibut. The fish was flaky, tender and clearly a high-quality piece of fish. The red rocket onions, creamer potatoes, edamame, sorrel, and hollandaise brought out the flavors of the fish while not overbearing the dish. Since we serve halibut on a regular basis in our home, I don’t normally tend to order it when dining in a restaurant, but I would clearly order it again. I have never had a halibut dish that has been so light on sauces and paired with ingredients that brought out the flavors of the fish so exquisitely.

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Then it was time for one of my favorite pastry chefs in Orange County, Andy de la Cruz to shine. He brought out a plate full of rich desserts along with a special message wishing us a “Happy Anniversary”. The pastry chef at Oak Grill is creative, innovative and will create a dessert that will leave guests craving more.

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When planning your next date night or romantic getaway at the Island Hotel, I guarantee that Oak Grill will satisfy all your culinary desires. Oak Grill is located at 690 Newport Center Drive, and complimentary valet parking is available for guests dining at the restaurant.

Oak Grill on Urbanspoon

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  1. Romantic Getaway at Island Hotel | OC Mom Blog | OC Mom Blog - […] a blink of an eye, it was time for us to make our way down to Oak Grill for dinner.…

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