900 Bayside Dr.
Newport Beach, CA 92660
My list of restaurants to try has gotten out of control! It is now almost three pages long. I have thought about putting a moratorium on adding to my list, but I love hearing from people about where they think I should eat. I would probably miss a lot of great places if I stopped adding to the list. So I only have one alternative, eat as many places as I can on my restaurant wish list. It just so happened that we were in the midst of Newport Beach restaurant week, so I took out my list and sitting there at the top was a Newport Beach restaurant, Bayside.
I have been to Bayside one time before, like over ten years ago. I remember the food being good, but a little on the pricey side. This was when I was younger, and not used to dining in some of the finer establishments that grace this county of ours. Bayside is part of the restaurant group that owns Bistango and Kimera, both anchored in Irvine. Bayside features a revolving art exhibit, which can be purchased by guests. I am sure these works are all out of my price range, but it was cool looking at them. Something that was in my price range was Bayside's $40 restaurant week menu. Let's see if the food was worthy of being hung in a museum, or sold at a garage sale.
No bread basket here, but we were given our bread one at a time by the busboy. Kind of helped me, by not allowing me to get filled up on bread. The bread was a heavier sourdough roll. A little on the dry side, but made better by adding a good deal of butter. They were a little stingy with the butter though. It came in little cup, and I could have used it all for one roll, but I knew I had to share with Katie. What a gentleman I am.
Before we got going on our prix-fixe menu, we started with this Lobster Bruschetta. Instead of tomatoes, this bruschetta was topped with a lobster salad, avocado, and lemon aioli, a much better alternative. The lobster salad tasted very fresh, but not too rich. The avocado was a nice unexpected touch, which tied this appetizer together nicely. The bread was grilled and held all the contents admirably. Solid start to the meal.
The presentation of Katie's Roasted Red Beets and California Goat Cheese really caught my eye. This was also served with toasted walnuts, red Belgian endive, watercress, and drizzled with aged balsamic reduction. It looks great, but how did it taste? Katie, who is not a beet fan, liked the light and mellow flavor of this. The walnuts added some needed texture, and the goat cheese worked well with the beets. This is the kind of dish Dwight Schrute could get behind.
I went the more traditional route when choosing my first course, a Chopped Heart of Romaine Salad.Their version of a Caesar salad featured a Parmesan dressing that was touch too lemony in some bites. The focaccia croutons were good and the Parmesan cheese was very plentiful. The produce here was fresh, and the portion size of this salad was more than adequate.
This good looking plate was Katie selection for dinner, the Pan Roasted Jumbo Tiger Prawns. Here the tiger prawns are served over their famous green risotto with snap peas. Katie described this dish as "comfortable as an old sweater". Fancy comfort food that seemed to hug you while you consumed it. The tiger prawns were very fresh, the spinach risotto was spot on, and the snap peas added texture to this dish. A real winner in Katie's opinion.
This handsome looking plate was my Prime Top Sirloin Culotte Steak. I got this medium rare, and it was cooked just that way. The beef was very tender and presented well. This steak was paired with blue cheese potato leek fondu and arugula pesto. I was a little disappointed with the potato because I was expecting more blue cheese flavor. The potatoes kind of fell flat here. Still, this satisfied my steak craving.
Dessert was up next, and above is the Chocolate Souffle Cake, served with Hazelnut Ice Cream. Katie felt the ice cream was nice and smooth, but felt the cake portion of this was a little on the bitter side, not as sweet as it should have been. She also thought this should have been lighter and fluffier. I liked this dessert a little more than she did. I felt it was sweet enough, and the texture was fine.
The Creme Brulee would be my choice for dessert. This is your classic brulee. The custard was smooth and had an understated flavor. The top had a thick caramelized rink above the custard. Not the best creme brulee I have had, but not the worst by a long shot. The raspberry cookie served with this looked to be dry, but was filled with fruit, and was surprisingly good. I have been on a real cookie kick lately, as the five girl scout cookie boxes I ordered can attest to. Ugh, no more of those things!
The atmosphere at Bayside was pretty nice. The dining room was comfortable without being pretentious. The booths put us in a loungy kind of mood. The piped in rat pack music helped facilitate that same mood. When we arrived at 6pm, the restaurant was nearly empty. By the time we left at 7:30, the dining room was filled. The service here was great. Our waiter kept things moving along, and the busboys did a great job filling our glasses, and clearing plates promptly. I was glad we could finally cross Bayside off of our restaurant wish list, and during restaurant week, double bonus!
Out of five turtles, (because the show Saved by the Bell featured a character named Lisa Turtle, and she and the gang went to Bayside High), five being best to zero being worst, Bayside Restaurant gets 3.5 turtles.
For more information on Bayside Restaurant, click here: http://www.baysiderestaurant.com/index.html