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Restaurant Week returns to Newport Beach with a few new faces, including California cuisine and wine-cheese pairings.

October 15, 2009|By Brianna Bailey

Tucked away on a quiet side street off Pacific Coast Highway, Michiko Soffer’s Nesai restaurant, at 217 Riverside Ave., is biting into Newport Beach Restaurant Week for the first time. Its menu features grilled artichokes and coffee-braised beef brisket.

“I tried to pick things that I felt were unique and popular to the restaurant,” Soffer said.

Restaurant Week returns to Newport Beach today with prix-fixe menus at more than 50 local restaurants. Some, like Nesai, are new to the Restaurant Week roster, while others are repeat customers.

Nesai is offering a three-course dinner menu during restaurant week that includes an appetizer, main course and a choice of house dessert for $30. Soffer once was married to the late local legend Sid Soffer, who once owned the Blue Beet, one of Newport’s oldest eateries.

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She’s owned Nesai for about eight years. The restaurant, open from 5:30 to 10 p.m., serves up an eclectic blend of California cuisine and Italian dishes.

Its selection of boutique wines and quiet ambience makes Nesai popular with area residents, Soffer said.

After — or even before — dinner, Restaurant Week patrons can visit the Wine Lab, 2901 W. Coast Hwy., for a Restaurant Week wine and cheese tasting.

For $20, Wine Lab patrons can sample four artisan wines paired with cheese.

“Wine is a very temporal thing and these are wines I’ve tasted in the last two months that over-perform for the price and represent highest quality for the money,” said Wine Lab co-owner Roger Richards.

Richards and his wife, ChrisAnn Richards, have run the wine shop and cafe in Newport Beach since January 2008.

Pairings include Arcadian Chardonnay Dierberg Vineyard 2006 paired with a lavender and fennel goat cheese called Purple Haze; Arcadian Pinot Noir Fiddlestix Vineyard 2006 paired with aged goat Gouda from the Netherlands; Box Car Syrah 2007 paired with Mimolette from France; and Bridesmaid Meritage Napa 2005 paired with a four-year aged Gouda.

Seatings at the Wine Lab for the Restaurant Week tasting are at 4, 5:30, 7 and 8:30 p.m.

More Information

Newport Beach Restaurant Week runs through Thursday with lunch or dinner menus ranging from $10 to $40.

Patrons can text GO2NBDINE to 68398 for offers or visit newportbeachdining.com. Reservations are recommended. Diners who eat at a participating restaurant will earn a gratuity card good for 20% off their next meal and a complimentary bottle of Perrier water


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