Five Feet (Laguna Beach) - don't bother
Ate here with my gf and another couple. It was recommended to me by a friend and I just made a res without looking up anything about it. It was one of those asian fusion type places that in this case is billed as sort of modern asian (I generally hate asian fusion places). Anyhow, its down off forest in downtown laguna (ultimate pain in the a$$ parking always). The space itself is alright, it looks super 80s, like it was totally trendy a long time ago and then they never changed the decor. Its sort of long and narrow with high ceilings and a semi-exposed kitchen. The service was terrible, our server barely knew the menu and this bus boy guy kept helping us most of the time (he was 10x better than our server, i think he knew everything much much better).
Here's what we got:
- goat cheese wontons: these were fine, not overly greasy or anything, filled with goat cheese with a sweet chili sauce. They weren't bad, but nothing to write home about
- kung pao calamari: this was probably the best thing i had here. its fried calamari in a sort of chili sauce that is a bit salty, but in a good way with peanuts. I liked this dish
- fried whole cat fish in chili sauce: first i ordered this extra spicy and it wasn't even mildly spicy, but i could deal with that. The sauce was another overly sweet chili sauce that tasted very generic and bland. The fish was fried in a wok in that kind of style where slice the fish vertically, cover it in flour (i believe) and constantly basted it in oil. It was fine, but nothing special and you could get something 10x better for 1/4 the price at any decent chinese seafood joint.
- bass - i dont even remember how this was prepared b/c it doesnt matter, my gf got it as it was a special and it was so bland i took one bite and was like thats enough
overall i really didn't like this place especially given the price tag (very expensive probably 60-70 w/o wine and more like 150 per person with wine as their wine list is way overpriced)
I'm trying to remember the original chef's name - he was a buddy of Wolfgang Puck's and came to prominence during the whole California Cuisine/Asian Fusion thing in the late eighties/early nineties. Super nice guy and, at one time at least, a cutting edge chef. Unfortunately by the looks of it, he hasn't changed the menu since I shot his restaurant for the Food Network back in 1996.
Sad news. Five Feet WAS super trendy and quite good in its hey day (the early 90s). My recollection is that the catfish and scallops were their signature dishes back then. I went there again for the first time in a decade about a year ago, and it was good, but really a shadow of its former self.