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Speaking of Newport Beach Restaurants - A Blast from the Past

Gypsy Jan May 28, 2013 01:59 PM

I knew and liked the bombastic owner of Ambrosia and saw that the move initiated by Bren was doomed:

http://articles.latimes.com/1985-11-0...

Same about the owner and the food of the Bouzy Rouge on Newport Blvd. on the Balboa Peninsula:. That's where I learned to love anchovies.

  1. k
    kevin May 28, 2013 06:26 PM

    Is any of the restaurants referenced in this thread still around ?

    Is "Blast from the Past" (that's the name of the restaurant, right?) still around ?

    Thanks.

    1. vegasmike May 29, 2013 03:27 PM

      Bouzy Rouge made the best Fries ever

      1. f
        flowergirl May 30, 2013 06:44 AM

        Just had a very pleasant meal at The Crab Cooker. Has not changed a bit. Good chowder and simply prepared fresh fish. We could use something similar in L A!

        2 Replies
        1. re: flowergirl
          k
          kevin May 30, 2013 01:56 PM

          Yeah, it's not bad though it can get very pricey, i.e. crab legs with drawn butter at close to 50 bucks before tax and tip, which is their eponymous speciality.

          1. re: flowergirl
            v
            VenusCafe Jun 7, 2013 10:03 AM

            We were there last month for the lunch priced Lobster Tail.
            Delishes as usual. It was my birthday and the waitress comped us with nice treats. We have been eating lobster there since 1965. What is amazing is how good all the accompaniments
            are. The cole slaw, the potatoes, the soup! My husband grew up around Balboa as his dad had a boat there.
            Recently he was busy pointing out many of the places mentioned on this thread. Altho he had told me stuff before, on this trip he showed me some new hangouts. I never got to Bouzy Rouge b/c we were always en route to the Crab Cooker.
            Don't know how my funds could survive a crab cooker here in L.A.

          2. Gypsy Jan May 30, 2013 03:37 PM

            Keeping to my theme of great restaurants now gone, there was a terrific very interesting article in The OC Weekly reminiscing about Sid Soffer and his restaurants in Newport Beach - Sid's Steakhouse and Sid's Blue Beet.

            We knew Sid and his wife, Michiko, (who ran and maybe still runs a great Italian restaurant.

            Her place was just up the road from his and then she and her superbly talented chef, Paolo, moved to Old World Village (if the name isn't right, I apologize) in Huntington Beach.

            http://blogs.ocweekly.com/stickaforki...

            51 Replies
            1. re: Gypsy Jan
              k
              kevin May 30, 2013 04:40 PM

              so where's this michiko restaurant these days ? is that restaurant still around ?

              do you happen to have a name ?

              1. re: kevin
                Servorg May 30, 2013 04:49 PM

                Nesai evidently. In Newport Beach (if it's still there).

                Here is a little fun history on her ex husband, Sid from the LA Times in 1997...

                http://articles.latimes.com/1997-06-2...

                1. re: Servorg
                  k
                  kevin May 30, 2013 04:49 PM

                  Nesai, yes. That's it.

                  I missed it by a couple years back when I was a frequent of the OC.

                  1. re: kevin
                    Gypsy Jan May 30, 2013 05:07 PM

                    Sorry, Kevin

                    Michiko's restaurant was named Issay.

                    1. re: Gypsy Jan
                      Servorg May 30, 2013 05:10 PM

                      This is her present day restaurant http://www.nesairestaurant.com/

                      1. re: Servorg
                        Gypsy Jan May 30, 2013 05:13 PM

                        Thanks Servorg!

                        I stand corrected and updated.

                        And, I do play nice in the sandbox.

                        1. re: Gypsy Jan
                          k
                          kevin May 30, 2013 05:16 PM

                          He is our intrepid Internet researcher.

                  2. re: Servorg
                    Gypsy Jan May 30, 2013 04:59 PM

                    Hey guys,

                    I was searching my defective memory while posting.

                    I did some online research.

                    The original restaurant in Newport Beach was named "issay"

                    They moved together, opening up under the same name, in Old World Village in Huntington Beach.

                    (Here is a link to The OC Weekly review by founding editor, Jim Washburn: http://www.ocweekly.com/2001-07-26/fo...

                    The new restaurant burned down in 2001,

                    I haven't been in contact with Michiko for several years and I do not know if Paolo is still in Huntington Beach or elsewhere.

                    1. re: Gypsy Jan
                      c
                      cujo May 30, 2013 06:53 PM

                      Here are some more great old school restaurants that have gone to culinary heaven:
                      The Hobbit in O.C.
                      Victor Hugo - Laguna Beach
                      The Five Crowns - Corona del Mar. I think the building still exists, but the menu has changed.
                      Scandia, of course.

                      Not in the same league, but definitely missed:
                      Cock n Bull, Bantam Cock, Tail of the Cock, Frascatti's (all of them), Martoni's, even Ollie Hammonds.

                      Desserteries I loved and still miss: Pupi's, Wil Wright's and Blums.

                      1. re: cujo
                        n
                        New Trial May 31, 2013 02:58 AM

                        Five Crowns is alive and well and still owned by Lawry's (since 1965). While the menu has been tweaked, and SideDoor opened a couple of years ago to take advantage of the gastropub craze, the main restaurant and its menu remain largely recognizable to those who ate there in decades past.

                        1. re: New Trial
                          c
                          cujo May 31, 2013 08:42 AM

                          Thank you for the update. It's good news.

                        2. re: cujo
                          Searching4Dunny May 31, 2013 07:49 AM

                          I think The Hobbit is still open.

                          1. re: Searching4Dunny
                            c
                            cujo May 31, 2013 08:39 AM

                            You are absolutely right! Just googled them. Has a 27/30 Zagat score. Thanks for the correction.

                            1. re: Searching4Dunny
                              Gypsy Jan May 31, 2013 08:57 AM

                              Just for the nostalgic historic record, in the 60's, the Hobbit location was originally a Russian restaurant, the Ukramada".

                              It was the first place I tasted Chicken Kiev.

                              1. re: Gypsy Jan
                                c
                                cujo May 31, 2013 09:22 AM

                                I was introduced to Chicken Kiev at the Russian Tea Room in NYC. Loved every minute of it.

                                1. re: Gypsy Jan
                                  v
                                  VenusCafe Jun 7, 2013 10:21 AM

                                  ME TOO! After that I made it at home. Very complex prep!

                              2. re: cujo
                                Mr Taster Jun 7, 2013 08:27 AM

                                The Hobbit has an awfully fresh looking website for being out of business

                                http://www.hobbitrestaurant.com/

                                Mr Taster

                                1. re: Mr Taster
                                  c
                                  cujo Jun 7, 2013 08:36 AM

                                  I was corrected and graciously admitted my error within 24 hours of my post. Did you read the entire thread before sending your comment? Of course not.

                                  1. re: cujo
                                    Mr Taster Jun 7, 2013 09:41 AM

                                    Whoops, you're right! I was on a cujo fact correction roll with the lobster and Lotus of Siam posts, and got ahead of myself. Sorry for that.

                                    Mr Taster

                                    1. re: Mr Taster
                                      c
                                      cujo Jun 7, 2013 10:08 AM

                                      You are funny.

                                2. re: cujo
                                  v
                                  VenusCafe Jun 7, 2013 10:40 AM

                                  We went to Victor Hugo with our kids many times. It was missed until just this year when I discovered Cafe Zoolu in Laguna and that makes up for it, altho they are very different.
                                  My daughter is in S.D., and we often meet in the middle at Laguna. We need a hang out place other than the beach!
                                  Cafe Zoolu's chef is Michael Leech, and he and his wife run a great place. Their site shows Michael next to a VW bus like I used to have! The food is generous, varied and delicious. Swordfish to die for (especially in a world lacking same!) www.cafezoolu.com/‎

                                  About Marconi's: was in there many times; once a fight broke out and Tab Hunter at the table next to me, jumped up to protect me from harm!
                                  Another time I hosted a small group of very special people,
                                  but was given a menu without prices, supposedly a 'special courtesy' for the gals! Being a feminist named Rosewoman after the women in my family, and feminism being popular at the time, I complained. They could not comprehend that a woman was hosting. I was no longer their current darling.
                                  I never went back. They closed.

                                  I NEVER like Frascotti's and, after living and eating Italian in NYC, could not understand it being so mediocre for Sunset Blvd in the '70's.

                                  1. re: VenusCafe
                                    Gypsy Jan Jun 7, 2013 11:39 AM

                                    I remember Victor Hugo's so vividly, now long gone and reinvented as Las Brisas.

                                    Ahh, sigh.

                                    1. re: Gypsy Jan
                                      k
                                      kevin Jun 7, 2013 11:43 AM

                                      what's las brisas ?

                                      1. re: kevin
                                        Gypsy Jan Jun 7, 2013 11:47 AM

                                        Hi kevin

                                        The common recommendation is go for the view and drinks, not for the the food.

                                        http://www.lasbrisaslagunabeach.com/

                                        1. re: Gypsy Jan
                                          k
                                          kevin Jun 7, 2013 11:48 AM

                                          dope. thanks.

                                          1. re: kevin
                                            Gypsy Jan Jun 7, 2013 11:52 AM

                                            You are very welcome :)

                                    2. re: VenusCafe
                                      c
                                      cujo Jun 7, 2013 11:51 AM

                                      Back in the day, many expensive restaurants had menus without prices for "the ladies." They also had "powder rooms" instead of bathrooms. What a crock! They went kicking and screaming into the new era. Those restaurants that refused, went out of business.
                                      Tab Hunter is a decent guy. Read his autobiography. You will like him even more. But he cannot sing.
                                      Frascotti's did a huge lunch trade, especially for entertainment business types. It was second choice to the original Brown Derby for business lunches.

                                      1. re: cujo
                                        Gypsy Jan Jun 7, 2013 11:58 AM

                                        Yes, but in the day it was considered automatic "politesse", treating a lady like a lady.

                                        1. re: Gypsy Jan
                                          k
                                          kevin Jun 7, 2013 11:59 AM

                                          :)

                                          1. re: Gypsy Jan
                                            s
                                            SoCalMuncher Jun 7, 2013 04:40 PM

                                            Screw that, let them open their own doors and pull out their own chairs and pick up their own checks, right?

                                            1. re: SoCalMuncher
                                              c
                                              cujo Jun 7, 2013 05:22 PM

                                              Right!

                                              1. re: SoCalMuncher
                                                Gypsy Jan Jun 7, 2013 06:48 PM

                                                So you say, but is this new day better or more enjoyable?

                                                A certain kind of gentleman-like behavior has sadly vanished from our environment.

                                      2. re: Gypsy Jan
                                        h
                                        HB_Jeff May 31, 2013 06:56 AM

                                        Gypsy Jan,

                                        I used to live in the apartments next to old World and I would frequently eat at Paolo's. Great squash ravioli, and Paolo was a super cool person to have a glass of wine with!

                                        Sadly, the restaurant has been gone for some time. I do not know if he opened up another restaurant.

                                        JEFF

                                        1. re: HB_Jeff
                                          Gypsy Jan May 31, 2013 08:54 AM

                                          They are doing well in Newport Beach:

                                          http://nesairestaurant.com/

                                          1. re: Gypsy Jan
                                            Servorg May 31, 2013 09:46 AM

                                            Other NPB restaurants that are long gone, but that I can recall to this day, include The Stuft Shirt and the Reuben E. Lee... http://articles.latimes.com/2007/jul/01/local/me-steamboat1

                                            I have a hankering to drive down and visit Woody's Wharf http://www.woodyswharf.com/ for dinner.

                                            1. re: Servorg
                                              Gypsy Jan May 31, 2013 09:50 AM

                                              As far as I know, you still might find Woody sitting at the bar. :)

                                              1. re: Gypsy Jan
                                                Servorg May 31, 2013 10:00 AM

                                                I can't depart this thread without one shot of the Reuben E Lee in all her glory http://www.flickr.com/photos/traderch...

                                                1. re: Servorg
                                                  c
                                                  cujo May 31, 2013 10:39 AM

                                                  The original sunk in San Diego Bay some years ago, according to news reports. There are plans to build a new one.The old one is beyond rebuilding.
                                                  In the mean time, the original must be a great wreck dive for scuba divers.

                                              2. re: Servorg
                                                j
                                                josephnl Jun 14, 2013 09:49 AM

                                                What about Sid's Blue Beat?

                                                1. re: josephnl
                                                  Servorg Jun 14, 2013 09:52 AM

                                                  That should properly be "Beet" and not Beat. Were you a "beet-nik" in those days?

                                                  http://www.thebluebeet.com/beet-histo...

                                                  1. re: Servorg
                                                    k
                                                    kevin Jun 14, 2013 11:16 AM

                                                    I've never been here.

                                                    Any good ?

                                                    If I'm in the vicinity, I'll usally end up at Charlie's chili and/or Mutt lynch's.

                                                    1. re: kevin
                                                      Servorg Jun 14, 2013 11:20 AM

                                                      Last there in 1969 or thereabouts, so my recommendation would be problematic, at best.

                                                      1. re: Servorg
                                                        j
                                                        josephnl Jun 14, 2013 01:32 PM

                                                        It was quite the place in the early 70's...peeling paint on the ceiling, but great vibe and very good simple bar food..burgers, steak sandwiches, fish, etc.

                                                2. re: Servorg
                                                  Gypsy Jan Jun 14, 2013 05:33 PM

                                                  Hey /servorg,

                                                  Do you remember the yacht named the Nam Sang moored outside the Stuft Shirt?

                                                  1. re: Gypsy Jan
                                                    Servorg Jun 14, 2013 05:37 PM

                                                    That's one I don't know. What was the story?

                                                    1. re: Servorg
                                                      Gypsy Jan Jun 14, 2013 05:48 PM

                                                      Hubby sailed the South Pacific,

                                                      Sold in the B0's it to a someone who tried to use it as a freighter. in The Sacramento $9ver;

                                                      1. re: Gypsy Jan
                                                        k
                                                        kevin Jun 14, 2013 06:18 PM

                                                        Sailboat for 9gs ????

                                                        That's a steal.

                                                        1. re: kevin
                                                          Gypsy Jan Jun 14, 2013 06:34 PM

                                                          HH8bb7 is a a devoted sailor and does not do stinkd pots..

                                                          1. re: Gypsy Jan
                                                            k
                                                            kevin Jun 14, 2013 06:49 PM

                                                            Stinkd pots ?

                                                            1. re: kevin
                                                              Gypsy Jan Jun 14, 2013 07:28 PM

                                                              Sorry, stink pots, meaning motor boats.

                                                              I am sitting in a window blasting for my monitor.

                                                      2. re: Servorg
                                                        k
                                                        kevin Jun 14, 2013 06:17 PM

                                                        One you don't know ????

                                                        Is that even possible.

                                                        Don't worry. I'm just giving you a hard time as usual.

                                      3. Gypsy Jan May 31, 2013 12:43 PM

                                        John Wayne and Dillman's Restaurant in Balboa
                                        ,
                                        John Wayne loved Mexico and Baja especially.

                                        I remember the night that he was at Dillman's exotic meats dinner (lion, tiger, rhinoceros, etc. and by the way - YUCK) and a Newport Beach police escort was waiting for him outside.

                                        One officer was there to take him home and the other to drive his car.

                                        1. d
                                          DWB Jun 5, 2013 07:17 AM

                                          My parents took me to Woody's Wharf hundreds of times in the 70's. We went for Sunday breakfast(had they invented "Brunch" yet?) usually, and as a youngin' I got to play around the docks while we waited for a table and my folks drank Bloody Marys.

                                          I learned to love Abalone steak(I think it was really Calamari), but I really remember a dish that I think was called "Shrimp Vercado". It was actually a slice of toasted white bread covered with avocado slices which were then covered with a layer of boiled shrimp. The big topper to this dish was that it was then covered(smothered) with.......1000 Island dressing! The combination seems insane to me today, but I still have a deep love for good 1000 Island.

                                          18 Replies
                                          1. re: DWB
                                            Servorg Jun 5, 2013 07:36 AM

                                            Would you go again today or would you be afraid that the present day experience would ruin your memories of going as a kid?

                                            1. re: Servorg
                                              c
                                              cujo Jun 5, 2013 12:22 PM

                                              I like to return to old favorite restaurants from my distant past.
                                              Sometimes they are still as good. Other times, not. Either way, the positive memories remain in tact, regardless of the most recent experience---good or bad.
                                              I recently returned to Dan Tana's in West Hollywood after a 40 year absence. The Giovanni's parfait had changed a little. But it was still swoon worthy. Will I return? Probably not because my waiter told me how to make it at home. The secret is Poire William. I will always cherish the memory of the first time I scarfed up this dessert at Tana's.

                                              1. re: cujo
                                                k
                                                kevin Jun 5, 2013 03:54 PM

                                                yeah, but you can't get the dabney coleman anywhere esle.

                                                What's in the giovanni's parfait ?

                                                I alwasys like tana's tiramisu and cheesecake.

                                                1. re: kevin
                                                  c
                                                  cujo Jun 5, 2013 04:29 PM

                                                  Giovanni's parfait is made with chestnut spread, vanilla ice cream & poire william. The chestnut is thickly wrapped around the inside of the goblet, add poire william and premium vanilla ice cream. Whipped cream is optional.
                                                  I also love their warm zabaglione. served in a goblet. It's the real deal zabaglione that no one serves anymore.
                                                  It's difficult to make and they do it perfectly.
                                                  I made a meal out of the desserts. Didn't order an appetizer or entree. The waiter said no one had ever done that in the history of that restaurant. A dubious distinction of sorts.
                                                  My friend ordered scampi and melon w/ ham. Both were excellent. Neither if us is much of a meat eater.

                                              2. re: Servorg
                                                d
                                                DWB Jun 10, 2013 09:15 AM

                                                I have grown to be too poor/cheap to even consider going to restos such as WW. I can no longer enjoy dining at most higher end establishments even if I can afford them, or even if someone else is paying. It's pretty sad, but thats my hell.

                                                1. re: DWB
                                                  c
                                                  cujo Jun 10, 2013 09:48 AM

                                                  . I agree that high end resto prices are obscene. It disgusts many who have deep pockets. I would appreciate knowing the names & locations of restos that you frequent and like.

                                                  1. re: cujo
                                                    d
                                                    DWB Jun 11, 2013 10:00 AM

                                                    I live in the IE and eat at dine-in restaurants very infrequently. Unlike most Chowhounders I will not travel too far for most food, and when I do it is mostly for special ingredients that We cook at home.

                                                    I do visit Hollywood Thai Town occasionally and use this board for reccomendations for both locations and dishes to order. I am a Thai food newbie, so everything I order is great to Me

                                                    1. re: DWB
                                                      c
                                                      cujo Jun 11, 2013 11:22 AM

                                                      You probably know about RCA in Thai town. It's excellent with very fair prices. I would steer clear of Jitlada at this point. Their food is excellent. But their prices have become ridiculous.

                                                      1. re: cujo
                                                        k
                                                        kevin Jun 11, 2013 12:49 PM

                                                        RCA ?

                                                        1. re: kevin
                                                          Mr Taster Jun 11, 2013 01:16 PM

                                                          Red Corner Asia

                                                          Mr Taster

                                                          1. re: Mr Taster
                                                            k
                                                            kevin Jun 11, 2013 01:18 PM

                                                            Thanks. Much appreciated.

                                                        2. re: cujo
                                                          d
                                                          DWB Jun 12, 2013 11:27 AM

                                                          Thanks cujo. The "mall" with RCA was so crazy for parking that we decided to go elsewhere. Street parking was also unavailable, and I don't even understand how to use the new credit card parking meters.

                                                          That said, I still want to try RCA, Palms, CPG and others there.

                                                          1. re: DWB
                                                            c
                                                            cujo Jun 12, 2013 11:54 AM

                                                            I know a place where there is plenty of free parking. It is slightly east of Thai Town----Sunset & Vermont in the Barnsdall Shopping Center. Yai is the name of the restaurant. It is inexpensive and very good.
                                                            In that same shopping center is a Jon's supermarket that carries a huge range of ethnic foods. It's worth checking out.

                                                            1. re: cujo
                                                              d
                                                              DWB Jun 13, 2013 07:53 AM

                                                              Thanks a bunch. A good market is more appealing to me than a good restaurant, by far.

                                                              1. re: DWB
                                                                c
                                                                cujo Jun 13, 2013 09:18 AM

                                                                There is also Super King Market in Glassell Park @ 2716 San Fernando Rd. in Los Angeles. It is the grand slam of ethnic foods supermarkets. The parking lot is always packed and vehicles line up at the entrance, causing traffic hazards.
                                                                In addition, you will find a vast number of old ladies (of every ethnicity) fighting one another for the best fresh fruit displayed in front of the store entrance inside the parking lot. It is a three ring circus or a mine field, depending on your sense of humor.
                                                                Plan to park on a nearby street so that you avoid the parking wars. Also, give yourself a couple of hours inside the store. There is a lot to see.
                                                                Please let me know what happened, after you visit one or both markets. Enjoy.

                                                                1. re: cujo
                                                                  d
                                                                  DWB Jun 14, 2013 08:16 AM

                                                                  SK is the Atomic Bomb! I live about 10 min. from the new Claremont SK, and it is almost exclusively where I now shop. I like to call it "Combat Shopping"!

                                                                  Check out my post from Nov. 2011: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/816234

                                                                  1. re: DWB
                                                                    c
                                                                    cujo Jun 14, 2013 08:47 AM

                                                                    Excellent review You nailed it! Jon's Market, a few doors down from Yai, is much smaller than SK, not crowded, has plentiful parking and is convenient only if you decide to try Yai.....and you really should.

                                                    2. re: DWB
                                                      Servorg Jun 10, 2013 10:30 AM

                                                      If your financial circumstances change it might be fun to go. Even if they don't change it might be fun to go and get a drink and an appetizer at the bar and just see what memories it triggers. I recall going to the Tail O' the Cock on Ventura Blvd. just before it closed http://articles.latimes.com/1987-01-0... (it was a "serendipitous" happenstance, because I had no idea they were about to close for good). This was a restaurant that I went to back in High School for Prom night types of festivities, or with my family for a special meal. My wife and I had a great time and I'm glad I went one last time.

                                                2. t
                                                  Thor123 Jun 5, 2013 03:41 PM

                                                  Does anyone recall the old Ruben E. Lee?

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Thor123
                                                    Servorg Jun 5, 2013 03:42 PM

                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9035...

                                                    1. re: Thor123
                                                      k
                                                      kevin Jun 5, 2013 03:55 PM

                                                      Yeah, our resident scholar of now defunct restaurants, Servorg, mentioned it up thread a few times or in another thread.

                                                    2. j
                                                      josephnl Jun 14, 2013 09:03 AM

                                                      Does anyone here remember the Stuft Shirt, the elegant waterfront restaurant in Newport Beach? They had white tablecloths and menus shaped like a starched white dress shirt on a slightly paunchy (stuffed) man. And they had the best lobster thermador in history. Sadly, the beautiful building remains (now a yacht broker), but restaurants like this are for the most part, long gone.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: josephnl
                                                        Servorg Jun 14, 2013 09:11 AM

                                                        I posted about it up thread.

                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9035...

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