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Mar 13, 2007 11:32 AM

Sapphire laguna

Has anyone been to the new Sapphire laguna in laguna beach. They also have a gourmet market called Sapphire pantry. I figured, I give them a little time before I check them out. They serve brunch on the weekend(thank God),but their menu is not up online yet. I am really excited to try this place. Let's hope it won't disappoint!

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  1. I am also interested if anyone has been. Along the lines of new OC restaurants, I went to Port and it seemed identical to Svelte with EVEN more expensive drinks, worse service, and I won't be back. Just an fyi.

    1. Haven't been, but some good friends went there and were totally taken aback by what they interpreted as a snooty attitude. They live nearby and arrived without a reservation (party of 4). There were more tables empty than full but they waited 45 minutes while none of those tables filled up. Still possible that they were reserved...... not so likely when many of them were still empty another 45 minutes later.

      Pushing the bar business??? Trying to seem exclusive??? Who knows???

      They didn't care much for the food either.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Midlife

        Are you talking about Port or Sapphire?

        1. re: torta basilica

          The people we spoke with said it was Sapphire..... in the remodeled Pottery Shack space. I'm not familiar with Port. Google says it's in Corona del Mar. I doubt that long-time Laguna residents would confuse the two. Does the story sound more like them?

          1. re: Midlife

            Sorry, just wasn't sure which one you were talking about as sfglutton mentioned both & Port has a bar too... (I actually just noticed you weren't replying to sfglutton, so my bad!)

        2. re: Midlife

          My boyfriend and I live down the street and we tried to go there a couple of weeks ago. We didn't have a reservation but it was really early, like 6:00, and 3/4 of the tables were empty so we thought it would be fine. The girls at the front were really snotty and told us they were "booked until May" (which meant for the next 5 weeks). It was ridiculous! I think they are just trying to seem cool, so annoying. Anyway, we're boycotting due to their attitudes, what a shame since it's so close to home!

        3. We went to brunch on sat and enjoyed it very much. We had reservations and recieved great service. We loved their warm cheese rolls,so much so,we had two. I had a study of eggs benedict(one regular,one with steak) and my husband had the corn beef hash with poached eggs. They were both very good. I checked the dessert menu and couldn't resist the chocolate cake with bacio ice cream and caramel,rum sauce. The ice cream was to die for. One of the best, I had in this country. They make it in the house. The chef, Azmin Ghahreman , worked as an Executive chef at st regis(Dana point) and four seasons,all over the world and the menu reflects that. We saw the dinner menu and it looked pretty good. We can't wait to go back. They have some unusual jam's at the market next door and a great selection of cheese. I think Sapphire is a great addition to OC dining options.

          1. Looks like our friends need to try Sapphire again. Their experience (related in my earlier post) doesn't seem to correctly reflect what's going on here. Weekend dinner could be a different situation, but it certainly sounds worthy of another chance.

            2 Replies
              1. re: mrsjoujou

                Note reply from joemama above. That's two parties with the same treatment. If they really are booked, they should be apologetic, not "snotty". What's the deal with that????

            1. I had a number of people recommend Sapphire to me and it was easy to see why - the place was hopping and while I was initially disgruntled to only be able to get a 5:30 reservation (geez, the shops are still open then!), by 6:00 it was packed and I felt lucky to have a table. The "scene" is that of the elite of Orange County - lots of perfectly tanned bodies, expensive clothes, and big diamonds. Yes, I felt out of place, but that's okay.

              Wanting to get through as much as possible, I was fortunate that another solo diner was seated next to me and we quickly became fast friends, thereby enabling me to taste considerably more than I would on my own.

              I started with a trio of fish - a lollypop of ahi, escabeche of salmon, and sashimi kampachi. My first (and only?) big, unknowing mistake of the evening was that my first bite was the kampachi which was dressed with a hidden slice of jalapeno pepper. The jolt of spice slightly killed my ability to adequately taste the other fish. I vaguely remember the ahi having a bit of a bit and the scallop being slightly tougher than it should, but I had to eat too much bread to get through the burn in my mouth.

              Next I ordered a wild mushroom "cappucino" with porcini foam. Much of this dish is its supposed style; a large platter was placed in front of me and the "cappucino" was deftly poured into the dish from a paper Starbucks (or equivalent) cup. Kinda silly actually and if there was porcini foam, it was lost in the pour. Okay, this might have been my other mistake of the evening -- it was a great mushroom soup, but would have been much better appreciated on a chilly November afternoon; not on a hot August night when a tomato gazpacho or chilled cucumber soup would have been preferred. Wrong time of the year to serve such things...

              I then ordered a Tunisian crab warka served with an herb-chickpea salad and tomato-harissa aioli. This was just downright brilliant and clearly a show-stopper. The crab was succulent and moist, the chickpea salad was studded with lentils and fava beans, and dressed greens accentuated the rich, spicy aioli. Stunning.

              At this point, my neighbor shared with me his braised prime short ribs with creamy Parisian mashed potatoes and mirepoix garnish. This was just comfort food - nothing ground-breaking, but well-prepared with the expected tender stringiness and rich sauce. While we were chatting, we kept smelling the aroma of truffles in the air and when asked about it, were told it was a side on the lamb sirloin; "truffles pomme frites." The waiter informed us we could have them as a side and how could we say no? Perfectly crispy and hot, the flavor of truffle did not overwhelm, as it often can.

              I, on the other hand, opted for a more daring crispy duck leg confit with white polenta and cherry-chocolate mole. The duck itself was far from perfect - slightly on the tough side, the overwhelming heat from the plate led me to believe that it sat under a heat lamp a bit too long. However the polenta was intensely rich and the juxtaposition of the cherry-chocolate mole with the bright, crisp green beans and bits of corn played well of each other. This was all about the components and it was slightly sad that the meat was not up to par with the rest, but was easy to look aside because of the playfulness of the dish.

              For dessert, I should have listened to my waiter who suggested an Australian passion fruit Pavlova with fresh beeries, and a mango coulis. Instead, I was intrigued with a Buddha's hand confit which was described as part of a Hazelnut feuillitine. The feuillitine, like the mushroom soup, would be better suited for winter and fall - it was heavy and thick. Sadly, any hint of Buddha's hand was missing. It was well-plated and all that, but didn't do it for me.

              An enjoyable evening, most definitely. I regret that I didn't dine there with a large party - if only to taste through the entire menu as much looks very intriguing and innovative. The warka was a clear favorite. The waitstaff is attentive. Occasionally I felt rather abandoned but when a waiter was missing-in-action, a manager or busboy seemingly steps in. Very affordable - with my three starters, two glasses of wine, an entree, and a dessert, I spent around $150.00.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Carrie 218

                That actually seems very high - I thought Sapphire well-priced & am trying to figure out how you got to $150 - what were you drinking?

                Thanks for the excellent review - I'll try to go back once the town quiets down - I still want that pavlova!

                1. re: torta basilica

                  Ocean trio - $15.00
                  Mushroom soup - $7.75
                  Tunisian Warka - $14.50
                  Truffle fries - $6.50
                  Duck confit - $25.00
                  Hazelnut Feuitilline - $7.00
                  2 Riesling - $18.00
                  1 Viognier - $10.00
                  TOTAL: $112.31
                  Tipped out to an even $150.00

                  1. re: torta basilica

                    The pavlova is great. We really enjoyed the pepper shrimp and crab warka. Sapphire is the best deal around.