3801 E. Coast Highway
Corona Del Mar, CA 92625
It seems like the team behind the venerable Five Crowns restaurant in Corona Del Mar are not resting on their stellar reputation. Yes, the restaurant has been around for 50 years, and they could just stand behind their prime rib, which is some of the best in OC, but they want to be innovative, and entice new customers through their doors.
Earlier this year they revamped their menu, brought back some of their classic items with a modern twist, and named Steven Kling their new Executive Chef. We were lucky enough to be able to attend the unveiling of their 50th anniversary menu, and were pretty impressed. You can see all of that here.
This time we were guests of Five Crowns again as they launched their new summer menu, told us about their impending logo and uniform changes, and let us in on some great themed dinners that they have planned, while showcasing their excellent beverage program and wonderful cuisine.
Before we get to the summer menu, the young man above playing the violin is the very talented Andrew Hull. Andrew is part of LA's wild Up, a modernized classical music ensemble, which is pairing up with the culinary team from Five Crowns to create a five course food and beverage menu inspired by their music, called Dinner in Five Parts. This cutting-edge performance will be taking place Wednesday July 29th on their fabulous patio. More information can be found on their Facebook page here. This is not going to be your grandmother's classical music show. If Andrew's performance was any indication, it will be a rocking, fun filled evening, with some really great food and drinks.
Summer menus are always a little lighter than other menus, but Five Crowns proves that just because they are light, you don't have to sacrifice flavor. They started things out with this Watermelon Gazpacho and Lemon Sorbet. This chilled soup had hints of watermelon, but was not as sweet as expected. The lemon sorbet melted into this also provided a surprise burst in selected bites. Not said by me too often, a very refreshing summertime soup. This was paired with a very well made Garden of Eden Gimlet. We have made two trips to Five Crowns this year, and each time we have been more impressed with their Head Bartender and Libations specialist, Amber Billard. Her cocktails have so much personality, and this gimlet was no exception. Made with cucumber vodka, lavender honey syrup, lime, and a hint of absinthe, this cocktail screamed summertime, with it's light and airiness, but it was still complex enough to keep you interested. Nicely done.
A little spin on the regular, old caprese that you can get just about anywhere. This Stone Fruit Salad really had people talking. At Five Crowns they grilled some summer squash and placed it on top of some creamy burrata, a few drops of pesto, a few sprigs of arugula, and some sliced almonds. Very tasty, and I loved how the components of this played with each other. The burrata and the almonds went well together, and because the pesto was used sparingly, it did not overpower the grilled squash.
I was pretty excited for our next taste when I looked ahead to see what we would be having. This Petrale Sole served Drunkard Style had a lot going on with it. Puff pastry was stuffed with crab and spinach, and then sole placed on top with a newburg sauce. Some real classic portions to this plate. Chef Kling mentioned that puff pastry is not used nearly enough anymore, and he's right. It was a great vehicle for this, and the newburg sauce was on point. Really tasty, and it went well with the crab. I could have eaten a bunch more of this.
I apologize for the odd looking pictures here. The lighting on the patio was getting quite dark, but not dark enough to use the flash. I was kind of in limbo here. We were given small portions of the food, so keep that in mind when coming to Five Crowns. Your portions will be noticeably larger. I definitely could have used a larger portion of each of these fine entrees off of their summer menu. This Duo of Prime Skirt Steak and Cooks Pig Ranch Pork Ribeye were delicious. It's probably no surprise that the guys in the kitchen at Five Crowns know how to cook red meat. This skirt steak was meaty, flavored simply with a little garlic, and cooked to a nice medium rare. The pork was grilled, and topped with a corn garnish. This was a very clean tasting piece of pork.
Dessert is kind of where Five Crowns lost me. I'm not really fond of fruit desserts, but that's what we had when this Summer Plum Pavlova was placed in front of me. I'm of the mind that desserts need to be decadent, and this was almost healthy. The macerated plum was sandwiched between meringue and whipped cream. Others at our table enjoyed this light end to the meal, but Five Crowns signature dessert, the C.C. Brown's Hot Fudge Sundae is definitely more my style.
Even without a hot fudge sundae, this evening was a great night of dining and wonderful company. Yes, summer menus are always a little on the lighter side, and I am definitely more of a heavier eater, but I really ended up enjoying the food here. I admire Five Crowns because they are always trying something new. Whether it was to open one of the first gastropubs in OC, (Side Door), or it is to have a five course menu based on modern classical music, they are willing to do whatever it takes to make you think of their restaurant as not only a special occasion spot, but a restaurant where you want to experience what's new and exciting at this 50 year old OC landmark. We can't wait to see what's coming next.
A special thanks to all who made this visit to Five Crowns possible. Thanks go out to General Manager Jim Colombo and his wonderful staff, including Chef Steven Kling, for the fantastic hospitality and excellent cuisine on this evening. Also for taking the time to answer all of our silly questions. Much appreciated. We would also like to thank Ashley Eckenweiler, and her staff at the ACE Agency for this great opportunity to experience this new summer menu.
If you would like to see all that's new at Five Crown in Corona Del Mar, check out their web page here: http://www.lawrysonline.com/five-crowns