Friday, May 21, 2010

A Plus for A Restaurant?

A Restaurant
3334 W. Coast Highway
Newport Beach, CA 92663

Boys night out, so eight of us headed to A Restaurant in Newport Beach. This place used to be the Arches, as far back as I could remember. The vibe here is cool, Newport Beach. Very dark inside and a huge bar, with all the eye candy you would expect from Newport Beach.

The dining room is pretty noisy, as it is right next to the bar. On this Saturday night the place was filled, all the time we were there. Let's find out if people are coming here for the food, or to be seen.

The first of three appetizers for us was this Crab Cake. This $17 crab cake was served with an herb salad and yuzu aioli sauce. This crab cake was light and had a mild flavor. The aioli sauce complimented this well.

The second of our starters was the Spicy Yellow Fin Tuna. This dish was tuna on a crispy eggplant, with chili aioli and sweet soy glaze. All of these flavors melded together well, and was not too over powering. I also liked the way this plate was presented.

Sorry the picture of the Pork Belly Skewers is blurry. It was difficult trying to snap pictures quick, and the lighting was difficult as well. The horrible picture does not diminish the taste of this plate. Braised pork belly and pearl onion with a maple syrup glaze, made this a great choice for an appetizer. Think of this as a big hunk of bacon, cooked crisp, with a tinge of maple. Pork belly is quickly becoming one of my favorite foods. This was steal at $9.

Here is my Butterleaf Wedge Salad. This salad was as good as it looks. Heirloom tomato, red onion, point reyes blue cheese, maple glazed bacon and buttermilk dressing made this a very tasty salad. I know they left the bacon whole for effect, but it would have been nice to have it cut already. The dressing was not too over powering on this.

Here is the A Caesar salad. Romaine hearts, parmesan reggiano, fried capers, all with anchovy dressing. I did not try this, but it looked good from where I was sitting. I thought that fried capers on this was an interesting choice, and made this salad their own.

Here is the French Onion soup. Made with gruyere and parmesan reggiano cheese, we at the table felt that this soup was way to sweet. It was an okay soup, but it was like the onions were a secondary thought.  

Here is the 16 oz. Rib Eye. This looked like it would be cooked perfectly for me. I did not try this steak, but Jeff, who did, did not rave about this steak. In fact he said it was just okay, nothing special.

This is the 8 ounce Filet. Rueben got this steak, and had the same opinion that Jeff had, and that is that it was nothing special. In the pictures it looks a little dry, but I am not sure because I did not try it. This steak goes for $32.

The next entree is the Scallops. This was served with potato puree, asparagus, morel mushrooms, peas, bacon gastrique and bearnaise sauce. This plate had a lot going on. Jim thought, "The scallops were good, but they could have been cooked a little more, and you should get more for the money you are paying for this dish". This plate was $28. Jim did give this three stars though.

This was my Pot Roast. Potato, heirloom carrots, onion, mushrooms all served in an actual pot made up this dish. The meat came whole, and was not as tender as I would have liked. The broth was way too salty. I was very disappointed with my choice.

Now on to the sides. None of these inspired any praise from the table. The Onion Rings were probably the most liked out of the three, but they were said to be just average. The Potato Puree was flavor challenged, and the Broccoli Rabe, was just plain mocked by our party. We also had a side of Mushrooms, not pictured that were just okay.

How should I sum up the experience at A Restaurant? I would give this advice, skip the entree's and order appetizers, they were good. The bar scene was great, and they did make great martini's. The salads were good, but the entree's need some work, they lack the wow factor.

Out of five report cards, (because I never got an A on any of my report cards), five being best to zero being worst, A Restaurant gets 2.5 report cards.

For more info on A Restaurant, click here:

A Restaurant on Urbanspoon


  1. Great post baby! That spicy tuna w/ eggplant looks really good, and I'm trying to think of more resturants that are like this in you go for drinks and appetizers, but it's not worth the money to stay for dinner, the first one that came to my mind was Bistango in Irvine, or Elephant Bar in Laguna Hills (but maybe that's because I have only had appetizers and drinks there) hmmmm....either way - can't wait for the next post!

  2. Here is a salad...
    Here is another salad....
    Here is the soup.....
    Here is the steak....

    Here is your review! Meh

  3. Agreed, A Restaurant is kind of erratic - some great dishes, some not so much. I'm totally with you on the French onion soup - we actually reviewed it a while back and said the same thing: "Way-too-sweet, way-too-winey broth that tasted like A1 sauce spiked with Two Buck Chuck."

  4. Anonymous, thanks for the critique and the comment.

    Jeff, good to see we are in agreement on this place. Thanks for the comment.