BREAK OF DAWN chef Dee Nguyen’s talent is recognized by many of O.C.’s best chefs and for good reason: His cooking has soul. Order this signature dish from his Laguna Hills restaurant and note how every one of its parts is thoughtfully prepared, plated with panache, and tastes divine.
FLAVOR Red wine vinegar and beet juice lend color and flavor to a fan of onion.
FISH Moist smoked salmon is cured in Nguyen’s house-made spice blend, with a base of coriander seed.
EGGS Practice and technique turn the poached eggs into textbook perfection.
SAUCE Capers and preserved kumquat give umami to the house-made mayonnaise.
SPICE A confit of cucumber, onion, anise, fennel, and tomatoes makes for a sprightly relish.
CRUNCH Oatmeal is soaked overnight in milk, then added to pancake batter that’s fried till crisp outside and meltingly tender inside.