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Laguna Beach is Southern California's premier seaside destination, midway between Los Angeles and San Diego. A year-round retreat for art lovers, nature enthusiasts and beach goers, Laguna Beach features seven miles of soft sand and surf.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A vacation for your taste buds at Tommy Bahama Laguna Beach Bar & Grill

At Tommy Bahama Laguna Beach you’ll find a casual, yet upscale menu and a beachy atmosphere that will take you on a culinary adventure. I headed to Tommy Bahama just before sunset on a warm, summer evening. This meant that the restaurant had its windows open to let in the cool, ocean breeze and the golden rays from the sunset. Singer/songwriter Kelly Fitzgerald provided background music making it a calm and relaxing setting.

We started off with two of Tommy Bahama’s signature cocktails, The Sunburn and the Pain Killer. The Sunburn is an exclusive drink that can only be found at the Laguna Beach location. Tommy Bahama asked their Facebook fans to submit names for a new drink, and that’s how The Sunburn came to be.

The Sunburn, made with Tommy Bahama Golden Sun, St. Germain Elderflower, Passion Fruit, Muddled Jalapeno and Hand-Pressed Lemon.

The Pain Killer, made with  “Splice the Main brace” with Pusser’s Rum, Cream of Coconut, Pineapple & Orange and Nutmeg.

While enjoying our cocktails we dined on Ahi Tuna Tacos and Lobster Corn Dogs. The appetizers were generous-sized portions, however they were SO delicious, we could’ve ordered two more servings of each and made a meal out of them. The Ahi Tuna Tacos practically melted in your mouth. The Ahi was so fresh and the flavors complemented each other perfectly. And the Lobster corn dogs were a childhood favorite revamped for the adult palate.

Ahi Tacos with wonton shell, sesame chipotle dressing, Asian slaw, wasabi-lime infused avocado.

Lobster Corn dogs: Sweet corn batter, mango ketchup, sriracha mustard.

Our next course included the Vegetable Bean Soup and Ahi Noodle Salad, both were fantastic! The Vegetable Soup is the perfect dish for a vegetarian. It was hearty, flavorful and filling. The Ahi Noodle Salad was light and full of flavor with the buckwheat soba, vegetables and red miso vinaigrette.
Vegetable Bean Soup with shitakes, Yukon golds, sweet corn, English peas, sour cream dollop.

Ahi Noodle Salad: Lemongrass encrusted sushi grade ahi, shredded romaine, carrots, edamame, peppers, wakame, buckwheat soba, ponzu and red miso vinaigrette.

Next, we dove in to the main course. Each description read excited our taste buds. How to choose? The chef helped us by sending out small plate samples of some of their most popular dishes. (This is not a normal practice of the restaurant, but since we are previewing and reviewing for you, our readers, we were allowed to order this way…just this one time.)

First up were the Swordfish and Grilled Salmon plates.

Swordfish with orange-Chile Glaze, haricot vert, beet risotto. 

Grilled Salmon with sweet pea risotto, apple fennel slaw.

These fish dishes were incredibly fresh and cooked to perfection with sides that nearly outshined the fish. The beet risotto was amazing and was hard to describe in words how tasty it really was. I had never been inclined to try swordfish before, but the readability of menu inspires you to be adventurous so I decided to give it a try. I’m sure glad I did!

Next, the Chef brought out three mini burgers, The Smokehouse Burger, The Brie Chicken Sandwich and Kalua Pork Sliders (off the appetizer menu.) Each of these was a mouthwatering delight. The meat was perfectly cooked and the flavors so unique. I can’t wait to return to try each in a full-sized portion.

Smokhouse Burger: Toasted Brioche, Garlic Aioli, Sharp White Cheddar, Red Onion, Nueske’s Applewood Bacon and BBQ Ketchup.

Brie Chicken Sandwich: Ciabatta, Fig Jam, Roasted Pepper Coulis, Tomato and Caramelized Onions.

Kalua Pork Sliders: Asian Slaw, Kochujang Aioli and Crispy Onions.

A great compliment to any entrée is the unbelievably decadent Lobster Mac & Cheese.

Lobster Mac & Cheese: Cavatappi, Shiitakes, four chesses and truffle oil.

We finished this amazing meal off with a sampling of desserts…Gelato and Root Beer Floats.

Gelato: The seasonal selections were blueberry and mango.
Root Beer Float: Abita, ciao Bella vanilla, white chocolate, caramel.

This meal was one of those where you forget the time and enter into a whole other world…one filled with flavors that take over your senses and satisfy your palate.  It truly was the ultimate culinary experience! Make sure you make some time to get out for lunch or dinner one of these days, and be sure to try Tommy Bahama Laguna Beach Bar & Grill. You’ll be glad you did!

Tommy Bahama Laguna Beach Bar & Grill
400 S. Coast Hwy. (corner of PCH and Laguna Ave.)

11:30am-11pm Mon-Thu
11:30am-Midnight Fri
8am-Midnight Sat
8am-11pm Sun

 By Anne-Marie S.

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