Bites: Oak Grill and Aqua Lounge

Bites: Oak Grill and Aqua Lounge

Among the more recent high-profile openings are these adjacent venues that share an expansive patio and fire pit, and easy access to Fashion Island. You’ll find oak floors and walls at Oak Grill, while Aqua Lounge offers a 360-degree bar with an intricate waved ceiling. Both are showcases for executive chef Marc Johnson’s fresh contemporary California cuisine. At Oak Grill, we like the tandoori-spiced ahi tartare with Asian pears, avocado, cucumber, curry oil, and papadum ($16); seared Maine diver scallops with heirloom beans, capers, and stewed baby tomatoes ($31); braised short ribs with Anson Mills blue-corn grits, Portobello mushrooms, and sauce bordelaise ($34). At Aqua Lounge, Johnson does street-food-inspired fare such as short-rib beignets ($14) and, after hours, a “squeaky cheese” poutine ($11). Las Vegas master mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim and general manager-sommelier Miguel Rodriguez designed the cocktails for both.

690 Newport Center Drive, Oak Grill, 949-760-4920,

oakgrillnb.com; Aqua Lounge, 949-760-4920, CQ-CC aqualounge.com

 

 

 

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