Given that it's a seashell's throw from Newport Beach Pier, it's not surprising that Sol Grill is decorated with surfboards hung on bright red and yellow walls. But when the glint from the crystal chandeliers and antique glass bottles catches your eye, you realize there's something charmingly disjointed about this place.
It's a theme reflected in the menu, where guests find foods presented in unexpected ways. For instance, meals start with filet mignon prepared as an appetizer of hand-rolled meatballs in portobello gravy. Instead of clams, the chowder is studded with grilled Hawaiian ahi tuna, and a fettuccine dish surprises with swordfish and capers. Of course, there are some classic preparations as well, including rack of lamb charred over open flame, as fire encased in a steel box continues to be incapable of cooking anything.
Once a repair shop and storage facility for local fishing fleets, for the past 40-plus years Woody?s Wharf has flourished as a casual eatery serving prominent patrons such as Mickey Mantle and John Wayne. The waterfront locale fosters fresh seafood dishes such as crab cakes and swordfish, pleasing the palate of former owner Chuck Norris, who bench-pressed unsuspecting fishing boats amid sparkling views of Newport Bay?s harbor. For their popular weekend brunch, Woody?s chefs whip up classic egg dishes such as omelets and breakfast burritos, which waiters can ferry to a dockside outdoor patio for easier plate-sharing with mooching mermen.
Featuring karaoke nights, DJ sets, and musicians showcasing their acoustic and classic rock talents, the live entertainment at Harvey's Steakhouse beckons diners to the dance floor six nights a week. The aromas of the culinary team's steak and seafood entrees, however, are likely to lure you right back to your table. Main courses include charbroiled filet mignon stuffed with bleu cheese crumbles and one pound of steamed Alaskan king crab legs, which you can dig into barehanded or with a royal scepter. Chefs also whip up favorites such as homemade chicken pot pie for early birds and treat patrons lounging at the bar or on the outdoor patio to snacks such as homemade potato chips.
The seasoned chefs at Tsunami Sushi augment their tableside cooking techniques with dazzling dramatics, including knife twirling and spatula slinging, as they slice, dice, and sizzle morsels of chicken, steak, and fish atop traditional Japanese teppanyaki-style grills. Sushi gurus also prepare fresh sushi and sashimi rolls as an alternative or supplement to cooked offerings. The full bar offers a lengthy list of liquid meal enhancers, including wine, imported beers, and sake. Valet parking grants patrons a reprieve from finding a space or learning the ancient art of sedan levitation.
At Black Bull Chop House, the culinary team grills up a menu of delicious certified Angus beef steaks among a brick-walled Western décor replete with cactus plants, a mechanical bull, and a sprawling boogie floor. Settle your spurs and nosh on an appetizer such as the santa fe rolls, a succulent blend of chicken, black beans, jalapeños, sweet corn, and two cheeses swaddled in flour tortillas ($8.95). The 12 big-screen televisions occupy diners’ vision in between bites of the tomato and mozzarella pizza ($10.95) and heated staring contests with the 16-ounce teriyaki rib eye ($22). Flanking the steaks is a lively recreation area, including a dance floor hungry for tapping feet and a raucous mechanical bull seeking brave animatronic cowboys.
Although Gulliver’s Restaurant’s name comes from the writing of Jonathan Swift, its menu draws inspiration from inns and pubs throughout the England countryside. Gayot praised the eatery’s commitment to hearty comfort food, claiming that “the steaks are thick and juicy, and the Yorkshire pudding adds just the right authentic Olde English touch.” This British influence appears throughout the menu, from the fish ‘n’ chips to the sweet english trifle. Prime rib slow roasts inside a specially designed oven, and cuts of prime steak age in-house, leaving ample time for the chefs to forge a variety of new American cuisine, which demonstrates a similar commitment to satisfying, homestyle flavors. In addition to baby-back ribs and crab cakes with honey mustard, the menu also includes decadent options such as Maine lobster tails in molten gold.
Even the Zagat-rated eatery’s ambiance manages to evoke the feel of a roadside cottage. Lit by a row of electric chandeliers, the main dining room’s wood-paneled walls feature an astonishingly vast collection of framed pictures, mounted tankards, decorative plates, long-stemmed pipes, and prints by illustrators of Gulliver’s Travels. The lobby area’s fireplace contributes to this cozy ambiance, although patio seating is also available for alfresco dining.