Three Seventy Common Kitchen and Drink
370 Gleneyre St.
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Usually when we go out with people, it's not a shock who picks the restaurant. They usually leave it up to me. When we go out with fellow food bloggers though, it's a free for all of ideas swirling around. We were going to be heading out with our good friends Tom and Daniele, both of whom are food bloggers. They had mentioned their love for Greek food last time we went out, so I had about three places picked for us. Then the curve ball came. Daniele said that she had a hunger for a great burger. I'm flexible, so I came up with three or four choices, one of which was the restaurant we eventually all settled on, 370 Common.
You might not think of 370 Common for a burger, but I have a copy of an OC Register article where restaurant critic, Brad A. Johnson named his best hamburgers in OC. There was a three way tie for first place, as of when he wrote this article, about a year ago this week. The three way tie involved burgers at A Restaurant, BLK Burgrz, and 370 Common. This was good enough for Daniele and Tom to decide this is where we would be going for dinner. It also helped that 370 Common also had a full bar, which is always a deciding factor for these two.
Katie and I had been to 370 Common before, for my birthday two years ago. That trip was on a Sunday though, and they only have a set family menu on Sundays, but it was still a great dinner, and one of the best meals we had that year. Now with the full menu at our disposal, we were looking forward to another great night of food, and of course conversing with Tom and Daniele.
370 Common is run by Chef-Proprietor, Ryan Adams. He was the chef of Sorrento, which was also in this exact location, and when it shuttered he bought the place. An OC native, he started cooking with his grandmother at an early age, where her garden to table influence can still be felt at this restaurant to this day. Along with this current gig, Chef Adams is also a consultant/chef at another place we have been dying to try, the North Left in Downtown Santa Ana. Reviews have been great, and we can't wait to try it.
We arrived at 370 Common on a busy Friday night in Laguna. Parking was actually pretty easy, and since Daniele had made reservations, we got right in. We were seated on the second floor of the bustling restaurant, and away from the rather rambunctious crowd at the bar. It was a little warm up in this loft area, but maybe that's because of all the hot air coming from Daniele. Anyways, we ordered kind of awkwardly in stages, but this is what came out for us on this night.
In lieu of the typical bread basket, we were served these Soft Pretzel Pieces, which came with a spicy mustard that definitely had its fair share of horseradish included here. Some bites of the mustard had more spice than others. I'm not much of a pretzel guy, but these were pretty good, and a nice departure from regular old bread.
There were definitely more drinks than these on this night, but after the first round, I kind of slacked off taking pictures of all the cocktails we had. I started things off with one of my favorite cocktails, a Moscow Mule ($11). This had all the key elements to it; vodka, ginger beer, lime, and a simple syrup. Very refreshing, and not too sweet, this one was perfectly made. Tom was feeling a little more traditional, and had the Barrel Manhattan ($14) which was made with bourbon. He drank this rather quickly, so I assume that he enjoyed it, although Daniele said it was a very stiff drink. What wasn't a stiff drink was her selection, the Gin Lucie ($11). A unique cocktail consisting of rhubarb, lemon, thyme, simple syrup, egg white, and of course gin. This cocktail was delicious and frothy, and something I would get when coming back here in the future. None of the beverages we had on this night failed to impress.
The first of our two appetizers arrived, and it was the Wild Card Tuna Poke ($16). This version of this trendy dish had a lot of parts to it. Chile, sesame, soy, lime, taro, macadamia, and micro greens. Usually when an item has so many ingredients going into it, especially where you want the tuna to shine, things get a little muddled. Not the case here. The tuna was the star, but was made better with its supporting cast. The macadamia nuts added some texture, the lime awakened the taste buds, and the chili added some spice. A very solid start to our evening.
I know it's not a true poutine, because there's no squeaky cheese curds here, but I really enjoyed this Short Rib Poutine ($17.50). The base is fries, which stayed remarkably crispy under the weight of the short rib, chives, cheddar, crema, horseradish, and onion. This might be best described as a loaded fries instead of poutine, but whatever you decide to call it, it was tasty. The short rib was of course tender, there was plenty of cheese, and the crema added a little needed moisture. My one complaint was that there needed to be maybe some of the braising juice included in this to make it a little more moist. Other than that, a very good shareable starter.
Let's start with the reason we were eating here on this night, the 10 Napkin Burger ($17.75). Daniele was not the only one who was craving a burger, as I ordered this one too. I'd have to agree with OC Register restaurant critic, Brad Johnson, who favored this very solid burger. It starts with a very good blend of beef, cooked to my desired preference, medium rare, and is then topped with cheddar, fried egg, bacon, mushroom, chile, onion, and aioli. The condiments are used a little sparingly to allow the natural flavor of the beef to come through. A fried egg is always a good idea on a burger, and this very good bun held up to the insides of this burger admirably. Really tasty, as were the fries. They were fried nice and crisp, and you can tell that they were potatoes mere hours ago. I'm not usually a fan of house made ketchup's, but this one was good, with a little kick to it. Having this burger made me glad that Daniele didn't feel like Greek food tonight.
Tom has a signature move when it comes to eating in restaurants, which doesn't involve checking for loose change in the cushions of the seats. We've been out with them maybe a dozen times now, and about 10 of those times he has asked the server, "what would be you're death row meal off of this menu?" A very clever way to ask what their favorite item is. Our waitress, Natalie, claims this Pork Loin ($25.75) would be her last meal if she were being put away for a long time. The pork loin is served on a bed of macaroni and cheese, then topped with an apple and sweet onion slaw, and then there's a smear of harissa barbecue sauce. Just like me, Tom seemed a little disappointed in the size of this plate. This was a very tiny portion for him, and he finished it rather quickly. He seemed to like it, but remarked that he would get something else on his next visit here.
I always cringe when Katie orders steak in a restaurant, especially a chef driven restaurant, such as this. She really likes her red meat well done, so there's no blood to be seen. Well done steak is usually dried to a crispness of beef jerky, with very little flavor. On this evening we talked her into having her Hanger Steak Salad ($29.75) served medium, and she actually enjoyed it. This deconstructed salad came with a good amount of hanger steak, a salad made up of arugula, shallots, chile, crouton of pecorino, a lime vinaigrette, and a side of chimichurri. Katie loved the presentation here. She expected the lime vinaigrette to be more noticeable, but was plenty happy with the chimichurri, which she called, "out of this world." The steak was marinated well, juicy, and paired nicely with the slight bitterness of the greens. She would get this again for sure.
As if we did not have enough food, (except for Tom), we had two side items also. The better of the two was the Broccolini Salad ($14.75). Like I said earlier, anything is made better with a fried egg on top, and this also included prosciutto, Parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs. A definite upgrade from your usual broccolini side dish. The runny yolk went well with the Parmesan and the broccolini. The Vegetable Medley ($9) was all Daniele's idea, and she barely touched them. I don't think it was because she didn't like them, but she was nearing capacity as far as food goes. They looked fresh, as they were being boxed up for her lunch the next day.
It's almost common knowledge that Elvis Presley's favorite sandwich was a peanut butter and banana sandwich, with sometimes bacon on it. We've seen a lot of restaurants try to emulate this sandwich in dessert form, and this Presley For 2 ($12) is the latest we've tried. 370 Common's version starts with cinnamon toast, topped with caramelized bananas, peanut butter ice cream, and a drizzle of honey caramel and powdered sugar. We all really enjoyed this dessert. The cinnamon toast was a great vehicle for this, and the caramelized bananas went well with the peanut butter ice cream. I wish there was more of this ice cream included here, as the ratio was a bit off between the toast, bananas and ice cream, but still a good ending to our meal.
This trip to 370 Common was extremely strong. Glad we came back here to try some of their different offerings, since the last time we were here it was for their Sunday dinner. With the exception of Tom's pork loin, I felt the serving sizes were pretty good for this type of restaurant. Definitely more of a special occasion restaurant, I would not mind spending some future milestones here. The service that we experienced on this night was great. Natalie really had her hands full with us, and all of our questions, but she handled us like a pro. It's good to see that 370 Common has not had a set back since Owner/Chef Ryan Adams has been splitting his time between here and the North Left. I'm also glad that Daniele was feeling like a burger, so we could come back here again.
Out of five skim boards, (because the oldest tour stop on the skim board pro tour is held at Aliso Beach in Laguna, since 1976), five being best to zero being worst, 370 Common gets 4 skim boards.
For more information about 370 Common, go to their website here: http://www.370common.com/