Oak Grill at Fashion Island is the perfect spot to celebrate the flavors of Autumn...
From the moment you arrive in Oak Grill's newly-designed dining room, you are reminded of the best of California. A wall of windows brings the outdoors inside, and there is a seamless transition from the warm, wood interior to the patio.
Orange County weather makes al-fresco dining a year-round treat, and Oak Grill is the perfect spot to bring out-of-town visitors who want to escape the chill back east.
The tranquil greenery may set the scene, but it's the food that steals the show.
Fall fare leans heavily on traditional tastes, but the Oak Grill seasonal menu is full of surprises. Familiar flavors are blended with unconventional ingredients, resulting in a collection of dishes that add a new twist to some old favorites.
The Classic Iceberg Wedge Salad has the creamy, crunchy goodness of the traditional dish, but a relish of root vegetables, carrots and dates adds an unexpected sweetness. Crispy bacon lardoons finish the salad, replacing the conventional topping of bacon bits.
The Butternut Squash and Candy Apple Soup feels like "Thanksgiving in one bite," says Executive Chef Marc Johnson. Banana bread croutons and a slight hint of curry bring a new taste to a classic seasonal dish.
Chef Johnson's menu comes from his imagination to the table.
"I think about all the flavors in my head while creating a dish," said Johnson. "It's as if I know what it will taste like even before I actually make it. It's like tuning an instrument. You can hear the notes of a violin, but you need to perfect and refine it and put into harmony with other instruments before creating a symphony. You don't want one loud note, just like you don't want one strong taste. Some soups don't have enough acid. You should always have some acidity to brighten up the dish. This dish has all the tastes of Autumn."
Chef Johnson uses all Fall ingredients for the Seared Atlantic Salmon, selecting winter vegetables like port braised cabbage to build the dish. The home-made ravioli has cauliflower, celery root garlic and mascarpone cheese, goat cheese and parsley.
"Cauliflower is perfect for the ravioli because it makes a good
farce, or stuffing," said Johnson. "The beauty of the dish is finished with the
tri-colored cauliflower when served on the plate."
"This dish just cries out that fall is in the air."
Oak Grill (at Island Hotel)
690 Newport Center Dr
Newport Beach, CA 92660