Sunday, January 24, 2016

Woody's Wharf - Newport Beach

If you're reading this before January 31, 2016, you still have time to take advantage of Newport Beach Restaurant Week, which began this past Monday, January 18, and lasts until Sunday, January 31.

Those who are good at math are probably saying right about now, "Wait, shouldn't have it been called 'Newport Beach Restaurant Two Weeks', then?"

Never mind semantics--these are pretty good deals and a lot of restaurants offering them, so you want it to last more than a week.

Those familiar with these post-holidays, city-wide restaurant promotions will know that it involves multi-course meals for $10, $20, $30, $40, or $50.

For my budget, $30 is the sweet spot for a restaurant week dinner. It's enough that you're not stuck with just sandwiches as the main course, but not so much that it's no longer a bargain.

Still, before I chose Woody's Wharf's, I did some research.

I tallied up the most expensive items on its Restaurant Week menu and compared them against the regular prices listed on its website. I determined the specials represented about a 25-30% discount.

That was good enough for me.

And now, I finally had a food-related reason to visit the infamous dock-side, bar-cum-restaurant that routinely makes OC Weekly's Best Of list--last year for "Best Place to Pick Up a One-Night Stand" and in 2010 for "Best Bar in Which to See Fake Boobs".

Quite appropriately, it was a tall, long-legged and big-bosomed Amazonian server who took our order and brought out our first course: a massive bowl of clam-packed chowder that, on a normal night, would probably be the only thing I'd need to get full.

We ate only about a quarter of our bowls, purposely holding back because I had a monstrous rib eye steak coming and my lovely dining companion had a pan-seared ahi with fresh avocado, tomato and crispy rice.

And we were right in doing so. The rib eye was big and bloody--a satisfying beef slab as I've ever had--covered with onion straws, topped with three gigantic shrimp sauteed in a creamy parmesan sauce. And it came with an insurmountable mountain of mashed potato and Brussels sprouts in a balsamic reduction that already constituted more food that I would consume on a typical day. I only managed to get a third of the way into it before my lovely companion told me that she needed help finishing her entree.

She said that the crispy rice in her dish--which reminded us of Persian tahdig and the stone-seared rice at the bottom of a Korean bibimbap--would not fare well as tomorrow's leftovers; so we had better finish it tonight. She was right. But I would've eaten every grain of it regardless, no matter how full I already was from my steak.

Desserts were cheesecake and a warm, cake-like brownie with ice cream, but it was this ahi dish with which warrants Woody's Wharf being finally nominated for something other than boobs and one-night stands.

Woody's Wharf
2318 Newport Blvd
Newport Beach, CA 92663

Hong Kong Banjum - Fullerton


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