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Orange County Restaurant Week 2013 -Tom’s Foodie Blog Restaurant Picks

Orange County Restaurant Week 2013 -Tom’s Foodie Blog Restaurant Picks

OC Retaurant WeekOrange County Restaurant Week 2013 start this week! From February 24th to March you will have the opportunity to experience generous prix fixe menus at a set price of $20, $30, and $40. With a list of over 100 participating restaurants, I find it hard to decide which restaurants to try during Restaurant Week

When picking a restaurant, ask these questions to yourself:

  1. Is this restaurant somewhere you have been dying to try?
  2. Is the cost of dining at this restaurant normally too high for your budget or your personal sensibilities?
  3. Will you get to try the restaurant’s best dishes?
  4. Is the restaurant offering a variety of choices?


Not all Orange County Restaurant Week menus are created equal; some restaurants are only offering salmon, short ribs. and chicken. Unless the restaurant is truly known for one of these items, then there is no reason for me to try it.

I have read each of the participating restaurants prix fixe menus and created “Tom’s Foodie Blog’s OCRW Week Bucket List”. For each of the restaurants, I have also provided a quick summary of why I like their OCRW menu.

Here are my picks:

  • 370 Common
  • The Crow Bar
  • The Ranch
  • Tamarind of London
  • Lucca
  • Chapter one: The Modern Local
  • Cucina Enoteco
  • Sea Legs Wine Bar
  • Morton’s Steak House
  • DivBar
  • Anqi

Honorable Mentions: Five Crowns, Andrei’s


370 Common Kitchen + Drink

Three Seventy Common

This restaurant has a great foodie friendly reputation and are featuring some of their best items, for example their bacon wrapped meatloaf . Yes they are serving chicken and salmon, but they are also offering 3 other choices. This is a good menu.



Dinner -$40

1st Course Selection

  • Kale Salad – fruit/currant/walnut/citrus vinaigrette/pecorino
  • Broccolini – fried egg/asiago/prosciutto/bread crumb
  • Pork Belly – greens/almond/burnt honey/fruit
  • Calamari – peppers/tomato chutney/aioli

Entrée Selection

  • All Natural Chicken – risotto/olive/caper/lemon/chile/garlic/herb jus
  • Salmon – seasonal preparation
  • Pork Loin – harissa bbq/mac n’ cheese/apple-sweet onion slaw
  • Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf – spinach/country mash/mushroom gravy
  • Vegetable Farrotto – seasonal vegetables/onion/garlic/parmesan

Dessert Selection

  • Grandma B’s Chocolate Cake – vanilla bean ice cream/love
  • The ‘Presley’ – cinnamon toast/banana/peanut butter ice cream/honey

The Crow Bar and Kitchen

The Crow Bar Logo

This restaurant is well known for creating amazing food. I was impressed by the variety of choices on the menu. Again you will see chicken breast and shortribs again on this menu, but they are also offering 4 other choices and an Amuche Buche.


Lunch $15

Entree (Your choice of one)

    • Wild arugula salad – candied bacon, poached ranch egg, sherry dressing, pecorino romano
    • Grilled chicken wrap -jalepeno bacon, shoestring onions, avocado, crow bbq sauce
    • The crow burger *- tallegio & gorgonzola, house made ketchup, wild rocket, rosemary bun w/choice of sides
    • Fish and chips – 4oz. icelandic cod fillet curried tartar sauce, hand cut fries
    • Cubano – salmon creek farms pork loin, nueske ham, house pickles mustard aioli, havarti torpedo roll
    • The kitchen sink salad *- fresh seasonal vegetables and local organic lettuces, bacon, nuts, hard cooked organic hen’s egg. Add grilled natural chicken breast $4

Dessert (select one)

    • warm oatmeal cookie sandwich – salted caramel ice cream
    • whiskey chocolate muffin -dulce de leche glaze

Dinner $40


    •  mini cheese board w/accompaniments

Starter  – your choice of one

    • wild arugula salad -Candied bacon and poached ranch egg, sherry dressing, pecorino romano
    • ahi tuna tar tar – jalapeño pesto, pine nut brittle wild mushroom soup house made ricotta cheese

Entrees (Choice of one)

    • Grilled local halibut – sauteed swiss chard, baby fennel, green garlic emulsion
    • Herbed pappardelle pasta – pork belly bolognese, burrata
    • Fish and chips -8 oz. Icelandic cod fillet curried tartar sauce
    • Crispy chicken breast – marinated heirloom tomatoes, chive oil
    • The crow ‘black label’ burger – 8 oz signature blend includes 21 day, dry aged prime rib eye, bone marrow butter caramelzied onions, potato bun
    • Beer braised natural short ribs – polenta fries, braising jus, house made sauce mornay

Dessert (select one)

    • warm oatmeal cookie sandwich -salted caramel ice cream
    • whiskey chocolate muffin– dulce de leche glaze


The Ranch Restaurant

The Ranch

This restaurant is one of the most respected restaurants in Orange County, operated by veterans of the restaurant industry. Their menu is limited in my opinion; although for $40, I think you will be very satisfied on the quality of food you receive. This restaurant is on the top of my restaurant week bucket list.


Dinner $40


    • LAURA CHENEL GOAT CHEESE RAVIOLIS – Scarlet Red Beets / Golden Raisins, Toasted Walnuts / Valencia Orange-Cambazola Blue Cheese / Candied Pecans / Wild Arugula
    • PEAR & ENDIVE SALAD BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP – North Carolina Shrimp / Leeks / Pepita Pesto


    • CERTIFIED BLACK ANGUS CULOTTE STEAK – Celery Root & Gruyere Gratin / Wild Mushrooms / Black Truffle
    • CONFIT OF MUSCOVY DUCK LEG -Beluga Lentils / Home Made Guanciale / Baby Root Vegetables
    • VANCOUVER ISLAND CRAFT RAISED SKUNA BAY SALMON – Black Quinoa / California Pistachios / Vine-Dried Grapes / Tangerine Nage


    • RUSTIC BLUEBERRY CROSTADA – Meyer Lemon Curd / Crème Fraîche Ice Cream
    • TAHITIAN VANILLA BEAN CRÈME BRÛLÉE – Lemon Poppy Seed Madeleines
    • PBJ & MILK CHOCOLATE BAR – Concord Grape / Caramelized Banana Ice Cream


Tamarind Logo

This restaurant also made it on my Newport Beach Restaurant week list. I have yet to try this restaurant, but I have heard many good things about it. I like the variety and quality of items offered on this menu. 


Lunch $20

A glass of Lassi (or) non-alcoholic Beverage (or) cup of Soup


    • Platter / Thali – Served with vegetable of the day, lentils, rice, naan and raita


    • Vegetarian -Paneer cheese stir-fry, Mushroom and Spinach
    • Seafood – Black Pepper Prawns, Fish Curry
    • Meat -Butter Chicken, Lamb Curry


    • Mango Kulfi (or) Blackberry Cabernet Sorbet

Dinner $40

First Course (choose one)

    • Chickpea Salad – spiced chickpeas, wheat crisps, mint chutney & sweetened yogurt topped with tamarind chutney, pomegranate and cilantro
    • Crispy Calamari – with chickpea flour, corn starch, cumin and crushed peppercorns
    • Chicken Tikka – chicken breast on beetroot carpaccio with pea and mint puree, tomato salsa and toasted peanuts

Second Course (choose one)

    • Vegetable Korma – in a coconut sauce with cashew nut, poppy seeds, melon seeds and ground spices
    • Shrimp Masala – tossed with shallots, ginger, tomato, ground spices and crushed peppercorns
    • Chicken Tikka Masala -in pureed fresh tomatoes flavored with ginger, honey and fenugreek leaves
    • Lamb Curry -with browned onions, tomatoes, freshly ground spices and cilantro

 ~ Served with ~

      • Potatoes tossed cumin, garlic, turmeric and green chilies
      • Slow-cooked black lentils with ginger, pureed tomatoes, cream and Kashmiri red chilies
      • Steamed basmati rice
      • Plain Naan / Cheese Naan

Third Course

    • Mango Kulfi or Blackberry Cabernet Sorbet


Lucca Café


One of the finest Italian restaurants in Orange County is participating in Orange County Restaurant Week! Lucca Café in my opinion is offering one of the best restaurant week menus with multiple courses, a large variety of choices, and a great price.




Lunch $15 (Please select one item from each course)

First Course

    • Soup– Lucca’s signature Minestrone Soup
    • Salad – Romaine Hearts, Herbed Croutons, shaved Parmesan, Market Grape Tomatoes, Fried Capers, and our own Caesar Dressing

Second Course

    • WARMED SPINACH SALAD – Farmer’s Market Baby Spinach, Warm Pancetta Applewood Smoked Bacon Vinaigrette, Roasted Chipotle Yams, Goat Cheese, Crispy Bacon, Caramelized Onions, and Candied Pecans
    • LUCCA BLT – Applewood-Smoked Bacon, Butter Lettuce, and Market Tomatoes with Carmelized Onions, Goat Cheese, and Our Own Aioli on Ciabatta Bread
    • WILD MAHI MAHI SANDWICH – Blackened Wild Mahi Mahi, Avocado, Butter Lettuce, Market Tomatoes, Caramelized Onions, Lemon Aioli
    • SAUSAGE AND WILD MUSHROOM CARBONARA – Linguine, Mediterannean Chicken Sausage, Wild Mushrooms, Creamy Porcini Carbonara Sauce, Parmesan Cheese
    • MEDITERRANEAN BEEF “STROGANOFF” – Filet Mignon Tips, Fresh Pappardelle Egg Noodles, Creamy Tomato Sauce, Wild Mushrooms, Parmesan Cheese, Creme Fraiche, Paprika and Chives

Third Course

    • LEMON SQUARE – Lemon Square with fresh Berries and homemade Whipped Cream
    • GINGERBREAD -Our Own Warm Gingerbread Cake, Pear Compote, Creme Anglaise, and French Vanilla Ice Cream
    • CANNOLIS – A Duo of Mini Cannolis with Mascarpone and Chocolate Chip Filling

Dinner $30


    • Lucca’s crostini and tapenade

First Course(Please select one item from each course)

    • SOUP – French Onion with melty Gruyere Cheese
    • SALAD – TriColor Salad with Radicchio, Wild Arugula and Butter Lettuce, Shaved Fennel, Gorgonzola Cheese, Walnuts, Champagne Vinaigrette

Second Course

    • CALAMARI STEAK –like you’ve Never Had It. Crispy Tender Wild Calamari Steak, Pan Roasted Potatoes, locally grown Asparagus, Lemon-Dill-Caper Sauce
    • BOLOGNESE – Handmade Wide Egg Noodles, Traditional Bolognese Meat Sauce (Beef, Pork and Veal), Parmesan and Ricotta Cheeses
    • RISOTTO –Pan Seared New Zealand wild John Dory Filet on top of Tomato and Herb Risotto
    • BEEF SHORTRIBS –Certified Angus Boneless Beef Shortribs, Red Wine and Balsamic Vinegar Braised, Yukon Gold Mash, Baby Spinach, Horseradish Creme Fraiche, Cabernet Reduction
    • LAND AND SEA – Petite filet mignon Wellingtons, Port Wine Reduction, Caramelized Onions, a trio of Shrimp, Lemon Beurre Blanc, and Fork-Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoe

Third Course

    • CRÈME BRULE –Belgian Dark Chocolate Cream Brulee with fresh Berries and homemade Whipped Cream
    • GINGERBREAD- Our Own Warm Gingerbread Cake, Pear Compote, Creme Anglaise, and French Vanilla Ice Cream
    • ITALIAN AFFOGATo –one scoop of vanilla bean ice cream with a double shot of Lavazza espresso poured over it, fresh whipped cream, a lady finger cookie, and chocolate chips


Chapter One: the modern local

Chapter One Log

This is one of my favorite restaurants in Orange County and I am very happy that they are participating in restaurant week. I really like the type of food they are offering. In my opinion they are not playing it safe by offering short ribs and chicken breasts, but rather offering some truly different items like Southern Fried Game hen,and an appetizer called The Kraken. Sign me up!


Lunch $20

Starter (Please choose one)

    • The Kracken -Fried calamari, scallops & prosciutto, sun-dried tomato, scallions, squid ink vinaigrette
    • Scotch Egg – Hard-boiled egg covered in ground turkey, panko crusted, Chinese mustard mango sauce
    • Lentil Salad – Lentils, roasted red peppers, beets, scallions, feta cheese, balsamic vinaigrette

Entrée (Please choose one)

    • Mac & Cheese – White Cheddar, Fontina cheese, smokey bacon & onion relish, toasted panko, truffle oil
    • Hallasan Volcano Tacos – 48-hour marinated skirt steak in spicy Asian brine, spicy pickled cabbage & pineapple slaw, peanuts, cilantro-citrus sour cream on (3) tacos
    • Vegan Portobello Napoleon – Risotto cake, tomato relish, seasonal roasted vegetables, marinated & grilled Portobello, spinach truffle sauce
    • Tempura Fish & Chips (half order) – Tempura-fried, panko-crusted Rake filet, wasabi & Sriracha sour cream, Asian slaw, duck fries with housemade ketchup

Dessert –A mini version of (1) of (2) of our decadent House Baked Donuts!

    • The Dude
    • Red Velvet


Dinner $30
Includes (1) complimentary Chapter One FAMOUS Moscow Mule

Starter(Please choose one)

    • The Kracken – Fried calamari, scallops & prosciutto, sun-dried tomato, scallions, squid ink vinaigrette
    • C1 Escargot – Roasted red pepper, thyme & garlic butter sauce with a prosciutto & goat cheese crustini garnish
    • OC Side Veggie – Chef selects to highlight one of the many organic Orange County sourced vegetables we received and have harvested daily


Entrée (Please choose one)

    • Southern Fried Game Hen – Herb & panko crusted Cornish Hen, roasted corn jalepeno cheddar cheese grits topped with sautéed kale, bacon & onion relish, ground turkey & mushroom gravy
    • Steak Chimichurri – Marinated steak, apple chimichurri, yucca fries
    • Vegan Portobello Napoleon – Risotto cake, tomato relish, seasonal roasted vegetables, marinated & grilled Portobello, spinach truffle sauce
    • Seafood Etouffee – Scallops, muscles, shrimp with a spicy cilantro-citrus Cajun roux, crushed tomato, garlic risotto 

Dessert – A mini version of (1) of (2) of our decadent House Baked Donuts!

    •  The Dude
    • Red Velvet

Cucina Enoteca

Cucina entoteca Logo

This is a great rustic Italian restaurant that is also offering a prix fixe menu with a wide variety of choices. I am excited to try the stuffed fried squash blossoms.


Dinner $30


    • Farmer’s chopped salad – yellow wax bean + cucumber + pepperoncini + point reyes blue + roasted garlic oregano vinaigrette
    • Roasted winter squash + date – lola rosa + pepita crusted goat cheese + pomegranate reduction
    • Zuppa – chef’s whim
    • Ricotta gnudi – sage brown butter + parmigiano + amaretti *
    • Stuffed fried squash blossoms -herb ricotta + purple basil pesto + cured lemon aioli *


    • Short rib pappardelle – cremini mushroom + parmigiano
    • Spicy shrimp puttanesca angel hair -olive + caper + tomato
    • Bucatini all’amatriciana -guanciale + tomato + onion + calabrian chili + pecorino
    • Butternut squash ravioli – pinenut + golden raisin caponata + apple puree + wild baby arugula
    • Pan seared ocean trout – umbrian lentil + spinach + salslfy + prosecco butter
    • Roasted ‘jidori’ chicken – fontina polenta + asparagus + swiss chard + pistachio pesto + poached hen egg *


    • Zeppole -Italian style donut holes vanilla crema + dulce de leche + sugared cinnamon
    • Bittersweet chocolate budino -cocoa chantilly + salted chocolate cookie
    • Panettone bread pudding -candied orange + crumble topping + rum raisin gelato


Sealegs Wine Bar

Sealegs Logo

Of course I had to throw in at least one wine bar into my recommendations :) Wine Bars that also excel at food are my favorites. What I like about this menu is how they are pairing a glass of wine with each entrée. For example with the red wine pairing, you can get blue cheese sliders. This menu is perfect if you are in a small group and sharing. Don’t forget you will get dessert.  This menu may not be the best if you are starving, but definitely worth the experience.


Dinner $40 (Please select one from each category)

White PairingServed with a glass of La Yunta Torrontes wine and choice of:

    • Stinky Fries – Fresh-cut fries with Parmesan and garlic served with a three cheese fondue with truffle oil
    • Tossed Baby Greens  – With blue cheese, marinated tomatoes, roasted garlic vinaigrette
    • Chicken Medallions – Marinated grilled chicken breasts on a bed of red quinoa prepared with feta cheese, cucumbers and kale tabbouleh prepared with herb oil in a balsamic reduction

Red Pairing Served with a glass of Jackhammer Pinot Noir and choice of:

    • Bruschetta – Marinated tomato, reggiano, melted mozzarella, prosciutto, basil oil, and paprika oil, on char-grilled baguette
    • Blue Cheese Sliders – Angus beef with bleu cheese, bacon, fried shallots and a red wine demi glace
    • Garlic Shrimp – Saturated and sautéed in roasted garlic and olive oil, served with toast points for dipping

Dessert/After Dinner ~

    • Bingy – House made limoncello sorbet covered in a raspberry balsamic reduction in a fresh glass of champagne


Morton’s The Steakhouse

mortons logo

Morton’s is one of the best opportunities to experience when of the better steakhouses at a very discounted price. What I like about this menu is wide variety of entrée selections,  even if you do not like steak. 


Lunch $20

Starter Selections

    • Caesar Salad -Classic Dressing
    • Morton’s Salad – Blue Cheese Dressing, Chopped Egg
    • Sliced Beef Steak Tomato Salad -Purple Onion with Vinaigrette or Morton’s Blue Cheese Dressing
    • Baked Five Onion Soup

Entrée Selections

    • Morton’s Prime Hamburger– Choice of cheese with Matchstick Fries
    • Pulled Pork Sliders, Cumin Pulled Pork, Avocado and Pico De Gallo. Served with Matchstick Fries
    • Grilled Salmon Salad – Mixed Field Greens with Walnuts, Apples and Blue Cheese, with Dijon Vinaigrette
    • Crab Cake BLT – Caper Dill Mayonnaise and Matchstick Fries
    • Chicken Bianco – Artichoke, Tomato, Capers and White Wine Sauce


Dinner $40

Starter Selections

    • Ahi Tuna Tower – Avocado, Pico De Gallo, Wonton Crisps
    • Chopped Spinach Salad – Warm Bacon Dressing
    • Caesar Salad – Classic Dressing
    • Sliced Beefsteak Tomato – Purple Onion with Vinaigrette or Morton’s Blue Cheese Dressing
    • Morton’s Salad – Blue Cheese Dressing, Chopped Egg
    • Chopped Salad – Iceberg and Romaine Lettuce, Cucumber, Bacon Bits, Blue Cheese, Chopped Egg, Purple Onion, Tomato and Avocado with a Dijon Vinaigrette
    • Baked Five Onion Soup

Entrée Selections

    • 6 oz. Filet Mignon
    • 8 oz. Filet Mignon additional $10
    • Honey-Chili Glazed Salmon Fillet -Vegetable Relish
    • Baked Stuffed Jumbo Shrimp – Crabmeat Stuffing and Parmesan Capellini
    • Chicken Bianco – Artichoke, Tomato, Capers and White Wine Sauce

Accompaniment Selections

    • Steamed Broccoli, Hollandaise Sauce
    • Creamed Corn
    • Chicago-Style Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
    • Lyonnaise Potatoes

Dessert Selections

    • Double Chocolate Mousse
    • Crème Brulee
    • Key Lime Pie
    • Cheesecake
    • Individual Soufflé Any Flavor

Div Bar


I really like the Div Bar menu because of the quality of the dishes provided. They are one of the only restaurants in Orange County that does broasted chicken and they are offering it on their Restaurant Week menu. I also really liked that quality of their dinner’s appetizer platter, you get to try each of their best items. I recommend their ahi tar-tar is really amazing.


Lunch $15


    • Buttermilk Breaded Crispy Calamari Quick Fried in a Chili Lime Sauce

Entrée (Choose One)

    • THAI STYLE CHICKEN SALAD – Soy Marinated Breast of Chicken with Napa Cabbage, Cashews, Edamame & Crispy Wontons, Soy – Ginger Vinaigrette
    • PRIME RIB FRENCH DIP – with a Kiss of Smoke Thinly Sliced with Mayonnaise and Au Jus
    • BROASTED CHICKEN  -Two Pieces with Mashed Potatoes & Grandma B’s Pan Gravy

Dinner $20

A SAMPLING OF  DivBar Appetizers for the table to share 

    • Our Famous DivBar Fries with Chipotle Aioli
    • Ahi Tuna Tartar 
    • Crispy Calamari Buttermilk Soaked and Quick Fried  in a Chili Lime Sauce

Entree (Choose One)

    • THE ORIGINAL BROASTED CHICKEN DINNER – Served with Jalapeno Corn Bread, Smashed Potatoes and Grandma B’s Chicken Gravy
    • SMOKED MEAT COMBINATION  – A Sampling of Our Smoked Brisket & Baby Back Ribs with Asian Slaw and Jalapeno Corn Bread
    • POTATO CRUSTED BLACK COD – with and Orange Reduction and Fresh Dill Oil


    • KAST IRON KOOKIE -A Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie Baked in Our Cast Iron Skillet with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream


ANQI logo

This is the sister restaurant of one of the most revered restaurants in Beverly Hills, Crustacean. What I like about this menu is the number of courses offered, four total. I also was impressed that they are placing some of their more popular items on the menu.


Lunch $20

1st Course (Duet of)

    • Chicken Caesar Rice roll with Pecorino Romano and
    • Surf and Turf Maki Roll with Wagyu Beef and Spicy Tuna
    • Tofu Caesar roll and Takuwan roll

Entrée (Choice of)

    • Beef Bahn Mi – with pickled Vegetables, Cilantro Aioli and Sweet Fries
    • Soy Glazed Salmon Salad – with Napa Cabbage, sweet Peppers and Mango Dressing
    • Crepe Salad (Vegetarian option)

Dessert (Shot Of)

    • Green Tea Tiramisu with Puff Pastry and Espresso

Dinner $40

1st Course (Duet of)

    • Wagyu Beef Carpaccio Roll – with Asian pear, Arugula and Sesame oil and
    • Crispy Chicken roll in lettuce Cup – with Garlic Lime Sauce and Tiato
    • Crispy Veggie roll and Takuwan roll (Vegetarian option)

2nd Course (choice of)

    • Spicy Beef Taco (2 small pieces) – with Bean Sprouts, Avocado silk and Pickled beets
    • Mushroom Taco with baby potatoes and radishes (vegetarian option)

Entrée (choice of)

    • Crustacean Shaken Beef – with Chinese Broccoli and Marinated Baby Tomatoes
    • Grilled Quinzoa White Prawns -over Saffron fried rice and Piquillo pepper Fume
    • Crispy Skin Salmon – with organic brown rice and Asian pear vinaigrette (no shellfish option)
    • Curried Seasonal vegetables  –with tofu (Vegetarian option)


    • Half Chocolate dome cake – with Blackberry Coulis, Port and Hazelnut

If you like my picks, you may also like the the picks from www.danisdecadentdeals.com : http://danisdecadentdeals.com/2013/02/24/oc-restaurant-week-my-top-restaurant-choices/

About Tom Holmberg

Tom grew up in a cultural diverse neighborhood and a culturally diverse family, so he has learned to appreciate all types of food. "I am not a Chef, nor do I play one on T.V., but I have learned to appreciate food from years of eating and cooking." Tom also spent 10 years in the restaurant industry in various roles, from Prep Cook to server.

One comment

  1. A wine bar (also known as a bodega) is a tavern-like business focusing on selling wine, rather than liquor or beer. A typical feature of many wine bars is a wide selection of wines available by the glass. Some wine bars are profiled on wines of a certain type of origin, such as Italian wine or Champagne. While many wine bars are private “stand alone” establishments, in some cases, wine bars are associated with a specific wine retailer or other outlet of wine, to provide additional marketing for that retailer’s wine portfolio.`

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