Orange Coast Magazine
 

Features

 

Orange County Restaurant of the Year 2014: Little Sparrow

This Santa Ana newbie developed a loyal following the month it took wing, by charming worldly diners with its cozy vintage venue and a crew brimming with talent. When partners Jenny Le, Bruce Marsh and wife Naseem Aflakian tapped Eric Samaniego as chef, their intentions were clear: Give Little Sparrow what it takes to soar. Samaniego has serious chops earned at boldface venues such as L.A.’s Comme Ça and Sona, and Chicago’s Charlie Trotter’s. He applies classic European techniques to local ingredients, and the impressive results include crispy sweetbreads on pea puree, the year’s best New York strip steak with textbook romesco sauce, and a splendid charcuterie plate with house-made delicacies. The tightly edited seasonal menu changes often enough to keep diners from obsessing over their favorites. Also felicitous, the 42‑seat bistro boasts the finesse of pastry chef Nasera Munshi—her scratch English muffins make Samaniego’s sublime eggs Benedict worth rising for early on Saturday. Ditto her achingly flakey morning croissant and pain au chocolate. Another plus is the vest-pocket salon behind the kitchen, a moody hideaway with vintage flair and an artistic approach to high-craft libations.

Field Notes Attention wine wonks: The $15 corkage is waived at dinner on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

300 N Main St., Santa Ana, 714‑265‑7640, littlesparrowcafe.com

Click here to enter to win tickets to our issue launch party.

Click here to read Orange County's 10 Best Restaurants

Photograph by Priscilla Iezzi
This article originally appeared in the April 2014 issue.

Leave a comment:

· Subscribe to comments
Be the first to comment here.

More on 'Center of the Universe'

 

CRIME: O.C. Confidential

Our "Center of the Universe" story about seduction and a serial killer is being read all over the world right now. Click here for the story.

 For more true crime coverage, check out:
  • Murder, Love & Redemption Everyone knows how Manson girl Susan Atkins helped take lives. But few know the story of the life she helped save. 
  • Sandy Murphy's Complicated Life Convicted of murder in 2000 and branded as Las Vegas’ most notorious femme fatale, she resurfaced a decade later as the happily married owner of a Laguna Beach art gallery. 
  • Murder. Just Because. One of the most loathsome killers in Orange County talks. Without remorse. And that’s the scariest thing of all.
  • The Private Struggle of a Public Woman To Orange County society, Debbie Simon had it all—beauty, wealth, family, friends, and a landmark Newport Beach address. But in the desperate months before her death, she lost what mattered most.

California has more national parks than any other state: nine. Use our guides, outlines below, to plan a memorable visit.

 
READ NOW: Serial Killer Seduction

Our "Center of the Universe" story is being read all over the world right now. Click here for the story.

 

Who Did Randy Kraft Seduce?

Current photos of author Jay Roberts.

 

A Fact-Checker's Journey to a 1980 Afternoon

Our intrepid intern tracks down the details in Roberts' story.

 

Why Isn't Randy Kraft Dead?

Our original piece on one of California's deadliest and most depraved serial killers. 

 

Editor's Letter, October 2013

Our editor considers "Center of the Universe" to be compelling—and incredibly frightening. Click above to find out why.