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debbie421 Jan 18, 2011 10:22 AM

I've seen a lot of Irvine posts for specific cuisine or cheap eats, but where would you go on a work expense account? I'll be with several colleagues and they won't want to drive far. Please give sushi suggestions as well.

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  1. n
    Nicole RE: debbie421 Jan 18, 2011 12:20 PM

    For an expense account meal, I would go to Marche Moderne (I think it's technically Costa Mesa, but it's close). Sorry, I don't really know sushi in that area.

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    Marche Moderne
    3333 Bristol St 3001, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

    1. r
      raidahguy RE: debbie421 Jan 18, 2011 02:23 PM

      Id eat at Fukada in Irvine. It can get packed at lunchtime though. Handmade udon noodles are delicious

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      Fukada Restaurant
      8683 Irvine Center Dr, Irvine, CA 92618

      1. j
        js76wisco RE: debbie421 Jan 18, 2011 03:54 PM

        If I was going to a restaurant on an expense account I would consider Mastros for steak. There is one by South Coast Plaza and another on the PCH. The best steak you can find in the OC.

        For sushi I would go to Wasa which is in the plaza by the Bluffs. It's west of UCI campus right up on MacArthur and Bison. Sit at the sushi bar and let them take care of you. Very good fish and great version of crispy rice and spicy tuna. They have a good variety of fish. The last time I went they had tempura cod sushi, great Uni, yellowtail belly, some type of snapper with sea salt and lemon and a bunch of others.

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        Mastros Restaurant
        2087 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

        4 Replies
        1. re: js76wisco
          OCAnn RE: js76wisco Jan 18, 2011 05:58 PM

          2nd Mastro's rec. There are a lot of nice restaurants in the Costa Mesa area (if you provide your cuisine of preference, we can provide more recommendations); you'll see more chains in Irvine. My other two favourites in the area lately are Charlie Palmer @ Bloomingdale and Old Vine Cafe.

          For upscale sushi on expense account, I'd do Blue Fin, http://www.bluefinbyabe.com/

          EDIT: Since you're from MN, I'd highly recommend getting some Mexican, Vietnamese, Thai or Japanese food...or something along the water esp since the weather's been rather summery.

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          Old Vine Cafe
          2937 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

          Mastros Restaurant
          2087 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

          1. re: OCAnn
            Funwithfood RE: OCAnn Jan 19, 2011 09:07 PM

            I went to Old Vine Cafe after hearing raves here and was utterly disappointed (and frankly embarassed to have suggested this place to a friend.)

            We ordered the open face egg & biscuit breakfast as well as the pulled pork omelette, both of which were less than memorable (generously speaking).

            Insult to injury we ordered iced tea and were charged $6 dollars per bottle!

            I see no reason to return, and would NEVER recommend this place.

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            Old Vine Cafe
            2937 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

            1. re: Funwithfood
              OCAnn RE: Funwithfood Jan 19, 2011 09:42 PM

              Sorry to hear that. While I've gone for b'fast, I've never ordered b'fast there b/c I'm addicted to their burrata caprese (esp w/the flash fried arugula).

              1. re: Funwithfood
                l
                lawdog262 RE: Funwithfood Jan 20, 2011 06:31 AM

                Also sorry to hear you had a poor experience at Old Vine for breakfast. I've never been there for breakfast, but have gone for lunch once and dinner frequently for over two years, and its been excellent on every occasion. And I'll second OC Ann re: the burrata caprese.

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                Old Vine Cafe
                2937 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

          2. j
            justinelc RE: debbie421 Jan 18, 2011 07:22 PM

            I love Bistango. It's closer to Newport Beach, but it's address is still Irvine. It's got a dance floor with jazz music which isn't very common these days. The food is good - new american. They don't have sushi, but they have a great tuna tartar.

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            Bistango
            19100 Von Karman, Ste. 100, Irvine, CA 92612

            1. Professor Salt RE: debbie421 Jan 18, 2011 09:40 PM

              Kimera is a lounge / bar and restaurant that I rather like for drinks. It's casual but still stylish enough for a business dinner, especially if they're work colleagues vs an all-out wine and dine of a VIP client.

              The food isn't on the level of Marche Moderne or Mastro's, but then it's not at that price point, either.

              It's borderline Newport Beach, right next to Google's office. Check out the menu and see if it appeals to you. www.kimerarestaurant.com

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              Marche Moderne
              3333 Bristol St 3001, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

              Kimera Restaurant
              19530 Jamboree Rd., Irvine, CA 92612

              1. d
                debbie421 RE: debbie421 Jan 19, 2011 05:45 AM

                Thanks for all the great suggestions! We're staying by where the 405 and 5 intersect, so some of them are too far away. I also forgot to mention that one of the people with us is a very picky eater. Those two things being said, Izakaya Wasa and Kimera look like good choices for us. Maestro's might be an option as well. Keep the suggestions coming! I personally like small independent bistros half way between formal and casual, but not sure any of those will fit my other requirements.

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                Kimera Restaurant
                19530 Jamboree Rd., Irvine, CA 92612

                Izakaya
                8420 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                7 Replies
                1. re: debbie421
                  Searching4Dunny RE: debbie421 Jan 19, 2011 07:11 AM

                  Are you going for lunch or dinner? Mastro's would be a dinner only option. I second the suggestion for Blue Fin sushi. I wouldn't waste time with Izakaya Wasa - it is far worse than Wasa sushi (which I think a previous poster was referring to). If you like Mexican then Javier's in Irvine Spectrum could be a good option as it is also close.

                  Bistango is a good "power lunch" type spot and is owned by the same group as Kimera. Kimera recently changed their menu for the better.

                  The Costa Mesa recs are your strongest: Marche Moderne, Charlie Palmer, Mastro's. I have never tried Capital Grill at South Coast Plaza but it seems like an expense account type place. Houston's is another option in Irvine but it is probably not much different than what you can get in MN. For Chinese, you might want to try Capital Seafood in Irvine.

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                  Marche Moderne
                  3333 Bristol St 3001, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

                  Kimera Restaurant
                  19530 Jamboree Rd., Irvine, CA 92612

                  Bistango
                  19100 Von Karman, Ste. 100, Irvine, CA 92612

                  1. re: debbie421
                    OCAnn RE: debbie421 Jan 19, 2011 07:40 AM

                    If you're near the 405 & 5, all of the suggestions provided thus far are fairly close and anything in Costa Mesa, Santa Ana, Tustin, Irvine and Newport Beach is within 10 minutes or so.

                    As for the Cap Grill rec, that works too (as it is a exp acct place). I *love* their Stoli Doley and find their food to be solid, but prefer Mastro's for their ambiance, service and general yumminess of the food. What Cap Grill has is vibrance & scene for middle-aged folks (like me!)

                    1. re: OCAnn
                      Searching4Dunny RE: OCAnn Jan 19, 2011 07:42 AM

                      Thanks for the info re: Cap Grill. I've been wanting to try it out, but like you, I really like Mastro's and tend to end up there.

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                      Mastros Restaurant
                      2087 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

                      1. re: OCAnn
                        j
                        josephnl RE: OCAnn Jan 19, 2011 07:29 PM

                        For steak there are far better options than the Capital Grill. Of the major steakhouses in the area (Mastro's, Morton's, Ruth's Chris and Fleming's), I believe that the Cap Grill is the only one that does not serve exclusively prime beef! Mastro's is certainly the leader amongst the OC steakhouses, but in my opinion all of the others are better than the Cap Grill.

                        Bistango in Irvine is another real winner...great ambiance and service, and very dependable food.

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                        Bistango
                        19100 Von Karman, Ste. 100, Irvine, CA 92612

                        1. re: josephnl
                          n
                          New Trial RE: josephnl Jan 19, 2011 10:56 PM

                          While I would agree that the steaks at Mastro's and Morton's are certainly better, I would place Capital Grille well (or at least medium rare) above Fleming's steak in terms of taste and enjoyment. I have not been to the Ruth's Chris down in Irvine (and it has been a long while since I have to any other location), so make no comparison there.

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                          Mastro's Steak House
                          633 Anton Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

                          Ruth's Chris Steak House
                          2961 Michelson Drive, Irvine, CA 92612

                          Morton's the Steakhouse-Santa Ana
                          1641 W. Sunflower Avenue, Santa Ana, CA 92704

                          The Capital Grille - Costa Mesa
                          3333 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

                          1. re: New Trial
                            j
                            josephnl RE: New Trial Jan 20, 2011 08:57 AM

                            My experience at Fleming's has always been better than that I experienced on two visits to the new OC Capital Grill. Fleming's serves prime beef exclusively whereas most of the steak served at the Cap Grill is what they call "select choice" whatever that means.

                      2. re: debbie421
                        ocshooter RE: debbie421 Jan 19, 2011 07:48 AM

                        You have the Spectrum right there at the 405/5, but there really is not any upscale dining there, and the Wasa is middle of the road. For realy good sushi, the closest place would be Maki Zushi, a few miles north of you off the 5 and Red Hill. They have a fantastic array of fish on special, and a wide variety of live shellfish options if you like that. Wasabi in Tustin is very close to Maki Zushi and also excellent, though it is a hole in the wall in a strip mall with an auto parts store. It is Omakase only at the bar, and he only does traditional sushi, while Maki has both traditional and rolls. Out toward the coast, Bluefin is also excellent, and my absolute favorite is San Shi Go (go to the one in Newport, not Laguna).

                        For the expense account meals, I would go to Laguna Beach. Tabu Grill is my favorite there. There is also Mastro's Ocean Club, Watermarc (not a favorite of mine, but well regarded by others), and Stonehill Tavern (a fair drive and not casual). Pascal is a French place that has been in Irvine for ages and used to be the best in town before Marche Moderne, but I have not been in a long time.

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                        Bluefin
                        7952 E Pacific Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92660

                        Sushi Wasabi
                        14460 Newport Ave, Tustin, CA 92780

                        Stonehill Tavern
                        St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, CA 92629

                        Mastro's Ocean Club
                        8112 E Coast Hwy, Newport Coast, CA 92657

                        Maki Zushi
                        1641 Edinger Ave # 101, Tustin, CA

                        Watermarc
                        448 S Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

                        Tabu Grill
                        2892 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

                        San Shi Go Sushi and Asian Cuisine
                        205 Main St, Newport Beach, CA 92661

                        Pascal (Tradition by)
                        1000 Bristol Street North, Newport Beach, CA 92660

                      3. t
                        tomokeefe10 RE: debbie421 Jan 19, 2011 02:46 PM

                        Well, for many years the BEST sushi has been Taiko just off the 5 on Jamboree, so only 3 exits perhaps from the Y of the 5 and 405. You need to get there by openning at 11:30 to get a seat at the small sushi bar - not sure about dinner. all the Japenese businessmen get there at 11:30 for fish that was bought in LA that morning. Marche Moderne is perhaps the best restaurant in OC and well worth the extra time. There is an Italian restaurant run by a lady who studed cooking in Lucca and that is really close - cafe lucca. You can google these, look at the menus etc. Bon Apetite

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                        Marche Moderne
                        3333 Bristol St 3001, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

                        Taiko Restaurant
                        11677 San Vicente Blvd Ste 302, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                        Lucca Restaurant
                        1636 N Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                        14 Replies
                        1. re: tomokeefe10
                          OCAnn RE: tomokeefe10 Jan 19, 2011 04:07 PM

                          I've had sushi at Taiko, Maki Zushi, Blue Fin, Shibucho among others. While Taiko is solid and Maki Zushi quite good, I think Blue Fin is the most upscale of these and Shibucho best and very old-school, no-frills. Depending on who was going, I'd recommend one of the four (and not the same place every time). That said, for business folks on expense accounts, I'd go to Blue Fin.

                          1. re: OCAnn
                            ocshooter RE: OCAnn Jan 19, 2011 05:35 PM

                            I have not been to Taiko or Shibucho (that one is on my list), I thought the fish selection was better and wider at Maki Zushi than at Bluefin. I really was prepared not to care for either of them when I went, Bluefin too Newport-y and Maki was big and looked generic, but Maki definitely blew me away. As soon as I walked and looked at the board, I knew I was going to spend a lot of money. Usual for me is about $100 when I go for upscale sushi, and Maki was definitely worth it. I did not order anything off the regular sushi menu, just picked out a bunch of the specials and told the chef to serve them in the order that made sense to him.

                            Bluefin had some excellent rolls and very good fish, but not the same breadth of fish as Maki, several types of Toro, multiple tunas, multiple mackerels, and a few fish I had never had before. All good signs. All that said, if you do want to go upscale and you have some less than die hard sushi fans, Bluefin might be the better choice.

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                            Taiko Restaurant
                            11677 San Vicente Blvd Ste 302, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                            Maki Zushi
                            1641 Edinger Ave # 101, Tustin, CA

                            Shibucho
                            3114 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057

                            Bluefin Restaurant
                            7952 E. Pacific Coastal Highway, Newport Beach, CA 92657

                            1. re: ocshooter
                              OCAnn RE: ocshooter Jan 19, 2011 08:57 PM

                              Yes, ITA about Maki Zushi having the best variety in OC!

                              If I had to describe the four with a few words they'd be
                              Maki Zushi -- best variety
                              Blue Fin -- upscale
                              Shibucho -- authentic
                              Taiko -- solid neighbourhood spot

                              1. re: OCAnn
                                Searching4Dunny RE: OCAnn Jan 19, 2011 09:00 PM

                                What about Sushi Wasabi in Tustin? Similar to Shibucho and also one of OC's best sushi spots.

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                                Sushi Wasabi
                                14460 Newport Ave, Tustin, CA 92780

                                1. re: Searching4Dunny
                                  OCAnn RE: Searching4Dunny Jan 19, 2011 09:05 PM

                                  Unfortunately, that's one I've *not* yet tried! =(

                                  1. re: OCAnn
                                    j
                                    justagthing RE: OCAnn Jan 19, 2011 09:07 PM

                                    It's a must try and they are reservations only.

                                    1. re: justagthing
                                      choctastic RE: justagthing Jan 20, 2011 05:06 PM

                                      I dunno if I would use expense account money on this place. it's in a dingy crappy neighborhood and unless they renovated recently, the inside isn't that much better. That said, the sushi is very good, but shy of mind-blowing. They do have good sake on occasion. I would reserve a bottle in advance, if you decide to go here.

                                      1. re: choctastic
                                        ocshooter RE: choctastic Jan 21, 2011 10:19 AM

                                        I use expense account money because of the bill, not the atmosphere. An inexpensive but beautiful place I can afford on my own. Wasabi is easily $150 pp unless you go with a very light appetite. The chef goes himself to the fish market daily, and the rice isn't the same dense pack of starch most places serve. Still, I would rather spend the same $ at Maki Zushi or San Shi Go, and I can certainly spend it at these places. Not sure if I would be as happy spending it at Bluefin.

                                        -----
                                        Maki Zushi
                                        1641 Edinger Ave # 101, Tustin, CA

                                        San Shi Go Restaurant
                                        1100 S Coast Hwy Ste 303, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

                                        Bluefin
                                        2917 W Pendleton Ave, Santa Ana, CA 92704

                                        1. re: ocshooter
                                          i
                                          I got nothin RE: ocshooter Jan 21, 2011 11:28 AM

                                          Ocshooter,
                                          I've yet to visit San shi go. How is It compared to maki zushi and blue fin? I doubt it has as many live shellfish and uncommon fish options like maki zushi does. Unfortunately, I've had some exceptionally slow service at maki Zushi the past two visits, so I'm looking for a new place to try. I enjoy a leisurely paced meal, but this was just too long for only a few courses. I've read a few of your posts on san shi go, and it sounds like it might be a good fit; I prefer the more traditional sushi and sashimi, and my wife likes to mix in a roll or two with the meal. Does San shi go have a fish variety similar to that of shibucho or Koi?

                                          1. re: I got nothin
                                            ocshooter RE: I got nothin Jan 24, 2011 08:31 AM

                                            Maki has a better variety of fish. The times I have been in, there are frequently 2-3+ types each of several fish, so you could almost make a meal out of, say just mackerel. You could certainly do a meal and limit yourself to just 2 or 3 types fish.

                                            San Shi Go has excellent quality, but not the same diversity. I think that the sushi chefs are more traditional, but they play with contemporary presentations as well. When I go, I lay out my broad limitation, no shellfish or anything else without scales, and then allow the chef to serve me whatever he wishes. My wife severely limits her intake of carbs, and the last time we went he did one "sushi dish" over Japanese eggplant, a number of excellent carpaccio-style sashimi dishes, things like that. They do have rolls and cooked dishes. Sake prices are a little higher, but they don't have the smaller bottles or low end choices. I usually expect to spend $125 +/- pp.

                                            Keep in mind, it is right next to the Fun Zone, so parking in the summertime is very tough.

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                                            San Shi Go Restaurant
                                            1100 S Coast Hwy Ste 303, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

                                            1. re: ocshooter
                                              i
                                              I got nothin RE: ocshooter Jan 25, 2011 11:23 AM

                                              Thanks for the info. I'll have to give it a try soon.

                          2. re: tomokeefe10
                            ocshooter RE: tomokeefe10 Jan 19, 2011 05:39 PM

                            Are you talking about Taiko on Jeffery off the 5? I know it used to be one of the most crowded, but not regarded as one of the best. I have never wanted to brave the wait, so the few times I have meant to go, the crowd waiting outside always kept me driving.

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                            Taiko Restaurant
                            11677 San Vicente Blvd Ste 302, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                            1. re: ocshooter
                              j
                              josephnl RE: ocshooter Jan 19, 2011 07:33 PM

                              At one time Taiko was the best around, but nowadays there are better choices. For an upscale sushi experience, Bluefin in Crystal Cove gets my vote!

                              -----
                              Taiko Restaurant
                              11677 San Vicente Blvd Ste 302, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                              Bluefin Restaurant
                              7952 E. Pacific Coastal Highway, Newport Beach, CA 92657

                              1. re: josephnl
                                d
                                david t. RE: josephnl Jan 21, 2011 11:25 AM

                                Sushi Shibucho in Costa Mesa for Omakase.

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                                Sushi Shibucho
                                590 W 19th St, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

                          3. d
                            debbie421 RE: debbie421 Jan 21, 2011 12:08 PM

                            I just had an L.A. friend enthusiastically recommend Ikko. Does anyone like that one?

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                            Ikko Restaurant
                            21008 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance, CA 90503

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: debbie421
                              Searching4Dunny RE: debbie421 Jan 25, 2011 01:58 PM

                              Haven't tried Ikko but the last time I was at Sushi Shibucho a japanese family that was eating at the sushi bar next to us highly recommended it. They made no comparisons to Shibucho other than that Ikko was also traditional sushi.

                            2. y
                              yshuto RE: debbie421 Feb 24, 2011 01:23 PM

                              At Kitayama, always sit at the sushi bar in front of the chef named "Yama" and ask for his Omakase. The sushi they serve at the dining tables is always sub par. Yama-chan has a loyal following and he's been our go to guy for over 30+ years, even when he started at Tokyo Kaikan in Downtown LA. In Fountain Valley, there is a place called Kasen. Kasen can compete with some of the better sushi restaurants in Japan. However, beware. They are extremely prejudice toward their clientele.

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                              Kasen
                              9039 Garfield Ave, Fountain Valley, CA

                              Kitayama
                              101 Bayview Pl, Newport Beach, CA 92660

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