4 Restaurants Serving Spherical Menu Items

Spheres are rounding out local menus.
Photograph Courtesy of Populaire

The croquettes at Lido Bottle Works change seasonally but are always on the menu. The current incarnation—panko-crusted sweet-potato, attractively presented with green harissa, tahini yogurt, and za’atar—might be the best yet. Other global, and globe-like, options include chef Joel Gutierrez’s curried meatballs made with Brandt beef and Chinese sausage and topped with mint yogurt, toasted coconut, and micro cilantro. Also check out the spirit-inspired infused-wine or kombucha-based low-alcohol cocktails.
3408 VIA OPORTO, NEWPORT BEACH, 949-529-2784

It’s hard to imagine snails being a signature dish, but the French-meets-Japanese-
meets-Danish escargot ebelskivers at Populaire are just that—as much in demand as the bistro’s “Pulp Fiction”-inspired Royale With Cheese. “I wanted to turn classic escargot into a takoyaki-inspired dish,” says chef Nick Weber, referring to Japan’s grilled-octopus balls. “Ebelskiver batter gave them the crispy exterior, the takoyaki pan made them perfectly round.” A buttermilk dipping sauce with koji, garlic, and parsley oil replaces escargot’s traditional butter. “People have really been loving it,” Weber says.
3333 BRISTOL ST., COSTA MESA, 714-760-4555

Octopus fritters might seem an unlikely starter at a burger spot, but the takoyaki at Ojai Burger prove an ideal prelude for its wagyu fusion fare. The orbs are all octopus inside; cabbage, red pickled ginger, and green onions enhance the crispy wheat-flour exterior. Available sauces and toppings include Kewpie mayo, sweet okonomi, spicy miso, dried seaweed, and bonito flakes. For partner Takeshi Ozaki, and many of his diners, the attraction is obvious. “It’s one of those dishes that always brings you back to Japan,” Ozaki says. “It’s pure nostalgia.”
238 W. CHAPMAN AVE., ORANGE, 657-221-0619

The lobster donuts at Mayor’s Table present dollops of savory dough, decadent with duck fat, fried to order, piped with fresh Atlantic lobster salad, and topped with an umami dust of edible kelp and dried mushrooms. They’re not perfectly round and can veer to ovoid. Chef-partner Riley Huddleston plates a trio with caper tartar sauce and a charred lemon slice. The overall impression is that of small-bite lobster rolls; it’s one of the most ordered starters on the menu.
3300 NEWPORT BLVD., NEWPORT BEACH, 949-662-6160