3333 Bear St., Costa Mesa, 714-872-8054
Despite the absence of a splashy grand opening, word of Tableau kitchen and Bar’s debut at South Coast Plaza went viral among fans of nearby Toast Kitchen. They scurried to report on cofounders Ed Lee and chef John Park’s newest all-day venture. The buzz continues as Tableau grows into its welcoming digs, adding upgrades such as afternoon tea service and a full liquor license for some ingenious cocktails. It’s a gift to finally have a sophisticated pre-noon option in the home wing. Brunch is fertile territory for Park, a gifted pastry chef with savory talents honed in prominent Los Angeles kitchens. No wonder the pancakes are soufflé-light, the bagels are house-made, and the crab quiche’s custard and crust are so precise. His riff on chicken and waffles is a de facto signature dish—garlic soy wings paired with taiyaki waffles containing sweet soy custard that echoes notes of maple syrup. Dinner brims with clever matchups and unexpected flourishes such as the top-selling fried burrata sandwich with pumpkin seed pesto or slices of burnished lap cheong tucked into the bowl of shrimp and grits. “Pho-tato” chips dusted with umami-laden seasonings set off the grilled chicken bánh mì. Desserts are few, and all are sublime.
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