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Executive lunch near South Coast Plaza

I am going to be in the Fountain Valley/Costa Mesa area this Friday and need a classy/high-end place for lunch. Cost isn't an issue. A couple of suits and I need to have a place where we can talk business. I'm thinking comfy booths or chairs, non-intrusive yet competent service, tables with reasonable distance between them etc. Everyone is a good eater and cuisine is wide open--while food quality is important, we can usually find stuff we like on a lot of different menus so don't get too hung up on "everything" being great. I would tend towards Morton's but am wondering what else might be out there. FYI, while we don't really have a time crunch, I'd rather not head down to Newport Beach as we will need to head North again soon after lunch and the further South we go the worse our drive gets....on a Friday.

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  1. There are two restaurants IN the South Coast Plaza. I would say Marche Modern or the newly opened high-end Japanese restaurant called Hamamori should work well.

    I had dinner at Hamamori last Saturday night. It is owned by the same owners as Wasa Sushi.

    4 Replies
    1. re: cdmedici

      cdmedici,
      Hadn't heard anything about Hamamori yet. Is it worth checking out, or should I wait until they get all the new-restaurant-kinks worked out?

      1. re: I got nothin

        It is worth checking out, but I would wait a two or three more weeks. When was there they still where working on the menu.

        I did find it to be quite good. I am not ready to give up Bluefin in Crystal Cove and I am not thrilled with the location inside of a mall, but it is probably one of the best meals to be had in the South Coast Plaza.

        1. re: cdmedici

          Thanks. If you were willing to give up Bluefin for Hamamori, I'd be running over to try it out ASAP. Maybe next time I'm dragged along on a shopping trip to SCP I'll give it a go; a little sushi and sake would help me endure the embarrassment of sitting by myself in the waiting area outside of the women's dressing room. Anytime I try a new sushi spot, I get a mixed feeling of excitement and guilt; it's kind of like I'm cheating on my regular sushi spot.

        2. re: I got nothin

          Just wanted to add my endorsement for Hamamori.

          We went omakase-style at the bar with the exception of the Shiitake Frites to test the kitchen. (The kitchen held up well, I found them excellent)

          The memorable dish to me was their fatty yellowtail sashimi. Quite fresh with that 'melt in your mouth' toro effect, the rock salt on top providing the knockout punch.

          We went during off hours (Super Bowl Sunday evening) and had the pleasure of chatting with the sushi chefs, who are also quite skilled at tableside chatter and amusing the guests. Our chef told me the ankimo is "good for your pencil."

          The executive chef from the kitchen came out and chatted with us for a bit, apparently he used to work at a 5-star hotel in San Fran, looking at the menu, I don't doubt his credentials.

      2. Antonello Ristorante is across the street from South Coast Plaza. I haven't been down that way in the past couple of years, but the food was excellent last time I was there.

        http://www.antonello.com/

        1. Honestly, I think Morton's is your best bet. It has all the characteristics you are looking for.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Nicole

            I agree, suits love steaks! But I prefer the newer Mastro's on Anton to Morton's, if going the steak route, although... are they open for lunch?

            1. re: kingkong5

              i would go with mastros, though the service is slow and not very consistent, but since youll be talking with clients that should be ok. the food is always top notch and decor is good. plus valet parking up front

                1. re: cdmedici

                  Near Mastro's is Turner New Zealand. They are open for lunch. Rack of lamb is great here.

                  As mentioned, Antonello is very good also.

                  -----
                  Turner New Zealand Restaurant
                  650 Anton Blvd, J Costa Mesa, CA

                  1. re: Wonginator

                    2nd the rack, salmon is also a winner.

          2. How about Pinot Provence, across the street (Bristol) ?

            1. Apart from Morton's, in the South Coast Plaza vicinity your best choices for a business lunch are Antonello and, if cuisine is wide open, the Royal Khyber. I would not recommend Marche Moderne for a business lunch -- despite the quality of the food, the quarters are cramped and I have personally been hit by shopping bags while eating there at an inside table. Nor would I recommend Pinot Provence for a business lunch.

              Not too far away in Irvine is Bistango, which has been a staple of the power lunch scene for almost twenty years. We use it regularly for recruiting and business lunches.