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Crudo at Blanca, Newport Beach?

The fairly new Blanca Restaurant in Newport Beach features crudo, and indeed has a crudo bar. Although I love sushi (Bluefin in Newport is one of my favorite spots), I have never had crudo. Has anyone been to Blanca? I this a good spot to have my first experience with crudo? Is there somewhere better in OC to have crudo?

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  1. This is the first and only crudo bar that i've heared of in orange county. I'm originally from New York and I've been to Mario Batalli's restaurant with Crudo bar. I went to Blanca last week and tried and loved everything about it. Its just so cool to have something like this in Newport Beach. My girlfriend is not a big fan of fish but she ate more than I did :) The fish is so fresh and the preparation is exquisite. I definitely recommend it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: foodfinder1978

      Bad news!!! Upon your recommendation, I went to Blanca tonight so that I could experience crudo at their crudo bar. Guess what? As of tonight, the crudo bar is no more. They will continue to serve crudo in the restaurant (at least for the time being), but the crudo bar is closed, and will be converted into a regular bar or perhaps a wine bar. They seemed totally disorganized tonight and really did not know what was going to happen to the crudo bar. I was able to have crudo served to me, and it was very good, but I was very disappointed that the crudo bar was closed.

      So...if anyone wants crudo in OC, I don't know what to recommend. In the future if I want beautiful raw fish, I will continue to frequent Bluefin in Newport Coast which is an incredible sushi bar. Too bad about Blanca!

    2. would you kindly explain a "crudo bar"? thanks.

      2 Replies
      1. re: la chienne

        Although I have never personally experienced "crudo", I do know that it is the Italian equivalent of sushi. It is basically raw fish which I understand is typically dressed with excellent olive oil and perhaps a sprinkling of sea salt (of different varieties). The quality and freshness of the fish. of course, determines the quality of the crudo. I am a huge fan of high quality sushi (Bluefin being the standard for me), and am therefore really looking forward to going to Blanca.

        1. re: josephnl

          Thanks for the explanation of what crudo is. At Restaurant Koi, I have been served this for years now. One of my favorite dishes, didn't know it was from Italian origins.

      2. Has anyone been to Blanca in the past 10 days since I reported that the crudo bar was no more? They were really disorganized the night I was there, and weren't sure what was happening with the crudo bar, so am wondering if anyone has been there in the past week or so, and what's happening?

        1. I went by and the entire restaurant still serves the full crudo menu, the crudo bar just now serves drinks as well. I was told that you could still sit at the bar and order crudo and the only difference now is they make you a drink from the bar and not from a waitress. Crudo is their speciality and they said they will always have crudo on the menu.

          2 Replies
          1. re: fredjackson

            I dont recommend this place to anyone. If you like to be ignored by the wait-staff and being served mediocre food by a chef that has no idea how to serve crudo, maybe you should try it.

            Crudo by traditional standards is raw fish and shellfish served along with olive oil, salt and a acid usually citrus acid, but can also be a vinegar.

            1. re: johnnylaw8484

              My experience was that the crudo served by the chef you say 'has no idea' was precisley per your desciption of 'traditional standards' . Every crudo
              dish used an olive ol, an odd sea or river salt plus an acid element. The fish was impeccablyfresh.

              The service? No so much.

          2. LA Times has a write up on this place. The menu and pictures certainly looked appetizing. I want to check out the butter poached lobster & egg, foie and of course the crudo.

            1. I really don't recommend this place. We went there on Saturday night with high hopes - it's a cool space right on the water and near to where we live - but we were hugely disappointed

              Never mind crudo, the chef is incapable of cooking anything well. The wild mushroom paella was crunchy and tasted bland. The pork belly carbonara was horrible: the pork belly was sitting on one side of the plate all by itself, pale and uninteresting, without any sauce or flavor. The 'carbonara' part was a few soba noodles with a 62-degree egg on top - again, no sauce or flavor. The 62-degree egg seems to be a favorite of this chef, as it appears in lots of his dishes, but it's just not enough to put a semi-runny egg into a dish and think no other effort is required. I'm all for deconstructing a traditional recipe like carbonara and creating a clever modern interpretation, but this was an abject failure awash with runny egg.

              The salmon was OK, but how hard is it to grill salmon?

              Apart from the food, the service is appalling. The whole restaurant is completely disorganised, with lots of seemingly-pointless girls wandering around in little dresses, while the waiters and waitresses are nowhere to be seen. Nobody seems to have any experience whatsoever, or any idea what to do. We took one of the special entrees, and it turned out to be a (miniscule) starter - so my guest waited 20 minutes while they cooked him something else

              The wine list is a disgrace. I can only imagine that the owner is friends with a producer in some unknown corner of California, and is selling the wines to repay a favor

              Finally, there are 2 major problems with the location. First, for all its beautiful trendy design, the restaurant does not have its own restrooms, so you'll be forced to use the public restrooms in the complex. These are grimly functional and, when I went, covered in vomit. Secondly (and the reason for the vomit), the wedding/party boats return to their docks right in front of the restaurant, at about 930pm. This means that your view of the twinkling lights of the harbor turns into a view of 3 large ships spilling drunken (and very noisy) revellers out onto the boardwalk

              1 Reply
              1. re: Taavi

                Local paper, Daily Pilot, reported Thursday that two vendors have repossessed their kitchen wares/supplies for lack of payment. This place is going downhill fast.