The personable owner-host is Sicilian-born Giuseppe Accardi—that would be Mr G. And chef Jason Elder’s background is in artisanal pasta. But new Mr G’s Bistro on Balboa Island bills itself as a modern California bistro and indeed its old-world congeniality combines with new-world design touches such as a framed digital fireplace on the wall and a contemporary chandelier. Start with a salad of garden beets with labneh, cocoa nibbs, bitter greens, and candied walnuts, or burrata with tangerine, prosciutto, mint, honey, and baguette. Consider the cappelletti, above, with duck confit, wild mushrooms, and thyme, a band of edible flowers along one side of the bowl. Or go for the filet mignon with parsnip, wild mushrooms, and bordelaise sauce, also strikingly presented. Among lunch options, the elevated Bistro Burger features smoked bacon-rum marmalade, white cheddar, arugula, and a side of pomme frites. A fine finish to either meal: chocolate pot de crème with macerated cherries and toasted hazelnuts.
305 Marine Ave., Newport Beach, 949-675-6193, mrgsbistro.com