Chat Noir - Costa Mesa
It's in a business and theater district, but I've seen Sunday dinners there where people are wearing their Mexican wedding shirts ("Guayabera Shirts"). They probably self-parked in the structure behind Noguchi Gardens there.
I had a wonderful halibut at Chat Noir in October. Interesting presentation of potato. My little brother had a sea bass special and I noticed he wrinkled his forehead when he saw it was cooked and served with the skin on. I gave him some of my fish. The spinach crepes are very good, IMO, with over the top buttery creamy sauce and a montage of subtle spices. Haven't been since November, though.
It's "theatrical" dining, but not as expensive as it could be in that setting. It has a WOW factor, IMO.
I think you will like it. It is provincial French and not too over the top, and very flavorful. The haricort verts are sauteed in butter. The pomme frites appetzier are shoe string thin and served with small dishes of (1) ketchup (2) garlic sauce (2) something else - maybe blue cheese? And, they are also served on the plate with the flatiron steak.
The waitress we had was good, and honest when we asked how the Occo Buco was. She said she did not like lamb and could not answer our question in that regard.
The green room is access to the wine room and is usually set last, if at at all. I haven't seen the entertainment there, but the covered patio room (not pictured on their website) that is adjacent to the lounge is quite cozy in beige and lots of green plants with possible sofa seating.
It think it opened in October of 2003. Most reviews on CH have been positive. But, we haven't heard from our "mastro" yet.
I've heard it was touted as a "see and be seen" place when it opened. A new place like that in the middle of four or five high-end office towers - your guess it would be? I prefer food with friends or family over drinks with neighborhood colleagues and singles.
We were pre-theater, and our waitress was timing our chocolate souffle to the theater time and not to our natural progression of dining. That's about it.
went there back in november. it was good, but it wasn't something i'd drive down to oc for (i live in la - westside). if i lived in the neighborhood, though, CHAT NOIR would probably be on my short list for nice places. it's dark and kinda sexy inside - kind of reminds me a little of moulin rouge.
i am boring - i had a caesar salad to start. but the cabernet braised short ribs were PDG (pretty dang good). another person had something chicken-ish, can't remember exactly what it was, but he was raving about it.
i would say it has some *wow*-ness in terms of the decor/ambience.
As others have noted, Chat is very chic-sultry in the decor category, with a quasi-Parisian slant. BUT, the food is not haute or refined Frech, but rather Disney-French (and I mean that the way only an OC native could mean that ;)
What I've done, when Chat Noir was indicated for wow-factor reasons: Start or end the evening with a drink in the bar (the snazziest room of all) and then walk over to Pinot Provence for fabulous, interesting French fare from the incredible Florent Marneau. I think they may still be offering their free (or, no) corkage policy, too.