Aging gracefully is all well and good, but growing younger imperceptibly is nearly impossible. Yet the venerable Five Crowns comes very close.
Steeped in local tradition, the Lawry’s-owned landmark strives mightily to remain relevant. Its recent renovation, and the smashing success of its pocket shop SideDoor, arguably the finest gastropub around, prove the Coast Highway landmark plays to win. So when Ryan O’Melveny Wilson was bumped to top toque for Lawry’s Restaurants Inc., L.A. native Greg Harrison won the talent search for the executive chef post.
The refreshed menu sparkles with current techniques, a gelee here, some sous vide there. Enthusiastic farm-to-table sourcing is additional evidence of forward momentum. Charred octopus with uni (sea urchin) foam hints at Harrison’s stints under Morimoto and Roy Yamaguchi. Silky beef carpaccio with organic horseradish and capers is a flavor-packed proxy for classic prime rib. Vidalia onion foam jazzes up the ever-sumptuous lobster bisque, and brick-flattened chicken is hot and juicy with plenty of crisp skin.
Grilled lamb sirloin is butter-soft with a pink center, and a drizzle of pomegranate demi-glace brings out its natural sweetness. Divine risotto and rich duck confit are craveable complements to the seared duck breast. Loyalists take note: Prime rib in a choice of four cuts holds a hallowed spot on the menu.
If your holidays aren’t complete without a Five Crowns feast, this year might well be better than last; the grande dame is younger than ever.
A new management team, including executive chef Greg Harrison, brings updates to the menu, new events, and more.
Harrison and sous chef Steven Kling have worked at kitchens under Thomas Keller, Michael Mina, Roy Yamaguchi, and Mark Peel.
Multicourse Chef’s Supper on Friday.
3801 E. Coast Highway, Corona del Mar, 949-760-0331, lawrysonline.com
Photo by Priscilla Iezzi
This article originally appeared in the December 2012 issue.