Now Open: Driftwood Kitchen in Laguna Beach
"Inside or outside?" the host inquired. That viewpoint above is considered INSIDE. Beyond the picture windows, a handful of tables along the perimeter make for even better sunset panoramic shots. We pulled up to the Pacific Edge Hotel (valet parking only) for an impromptu girl's night out during their inaugural dinner service last Tuesday.
Since Driftwood's menu is not up on their website, we're here to provide some general reconnaissance. In no way is this a review, but a brief summary of their evening options.
A duo of soups are currently poured. Chilled avocado ($9) includes a tomato curry confit, while classic lobster bisque ($12) incorporates cognac champagne cream. Of the salads, their quinoa with lime-mint vinaigrette and grilled sweet corn ($13) looks CrossFit healthy. However, my bets are on the curly and purple endive, featuring a soft poached farm egg and pork belly lardons ($12). Bacon and eggs, people. Winner.
Besides desserts (described by our jovial server Stephanie), the rest of Driftwood's options are categorized between small and large plates. Serious entrees start with shrimp, uni and salmon caviar over angel hair ($22), to $50, 40-ounce Maine lobster with jumbo asparagus. This is where you go to impress out-of-town clients, because corporate cards should feel right at home. I'm looking forward to the whole fried branzino ($27) next time. Carnivores will be pleased to locate duck, chicken and lamb chop selections.
On the sharable side, check out their buttermilk fried soft-shell crab ($13)-- our favorite of the night. A seafood fanatic's paradise, octopus tacos ($14) and Hawaiian tuna loin ($15) outshine standbys like domestic cheese and charcuterie platters. Peel back the dining room layer, and you're seated inside their Stateroom Bar. Cocktail homages to The Beach House (a nod to the property Driftwood is now on) and The Royal Hawaiian get us thirsty for more.
To learn more about Laguna's newest chef, check out my On the Line interview with Rainer Schwarz here. Ready in time for the next holiday weekend, hungry sun worshipers can expect waits at both The Deck and Driftwood Kitchen. Slather on extra sunscreen, okay?
Driftwood Kitchen is located at 619 Sleepy Hollow Ln, Laguna Beach, (949) 715-7700; www.driftwoodkitchen.com.