Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lawry's Carvery - Costa Mesa

Ah, South Coast Plaza: The mall that's too classy for a food court; where The Devil wears Prada, but doesn't eat Hot Dog on A Stick. Instead it's got some of Orange County's best fine dining options. Namely, there's Marche Moderne and Hamamori, because what's a few more Benjamins on lunch when you've already spent your entire stimulus check on a pair of shoes.

But where does Anne Hathaway go for a bite? (The character she plays in the movie, not the actress)

Well, there's Macy's Signature Kitchen, the closest thing the mall has to a food court. Or Nordstroms Cafe. Perhaps that dependable chain, Corner Bakery. But arguably the most popular eatery at SCP is Lawry's Carvery, a quick service version of the full-blown prime rib restaurant you might have driven past in Beverly Hills.

Here Ms. Hathaway can sink her horse-like chompers on a slab of meat without so much as a waiter bringing it to her. The prime rib plate -- $15.99 for a 6-ouncer -- includes a thimble of searing horseradish, one side and coleslaw. And unlike Cat Cora's BBQ platters, it actually fills you up, especially if you choose the rich cheddar and parmesan-encrusted mac and cheese, which employs penne pasta instead of the elbow-shaped stuff from the blue box.

I usually get the brisket for $12.99. Slices of beef, cut across the grain so that it's always tender, fanned out on the plate and smothered in maybe a bit too much of their BBQ sauce. The best part are the crispy wisps of onion straws that's actually more like a third side item than garnish.

The roast beef dip sandwich isn't as tender or elegant as Houston's (The Best French Dip in History) or decadently wet and nostalgic as Philippe's (The First French Dip According to History), but it's serviceable and packed with plenty of hulking pieces for the $8.99 price tag. Instead of dipping, I skip the niceties and douse both slices of bread with the jus, being careful not to drench or dampen the crunchy homemade chips that it comes with.

It's plenty of food for long-suffering assistants of megalomaniacs. Of course, in this economy, it's more likely that she'll opt for Del Taco (also available, next to Sears).

Lawry's Carvery‎
(714) 434-7788
3333 Bristol St # 2601
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Villa Roma - Laguna Hills

*This post is dedicated to the memory of Celina, the mother of my friend and location scout Cecile.


At 11:08 AM, Blogger Frequent Traveler said...

I was really disappointed in their roast beef sandwich, having such fond memories of the full service Lawry's on LaCienega...

The quality of the meat just wasn't as good.

At 2:27 PM, Blogger dumplings said...


The Carvery has been serving the same food since it opened. I agree with the quality of their food. The sandwich used to be $6.99, and the Prim Rib plate was $9.99. The hefty price tags made me stay away.

I emailed you about this. I don't know if you are a sake fan:

At 4:11 PM, Blogger DanGarion said...

I'm disappointed in you calling Anne Hathaway a horse! She's soooooo hot!

When we are at SCP we usually go to Boudin's.

At 4:32 PM, Blogger Diana said...

I made the mistake of ordering a turkey sandwich with cranberry relish the one time I went. Looks like I've gotta go with the brisket if I ever make it there again!

My favorite place for lunch at SCP is Quattro Cafe -- they make a great chicken panini and an amazing salad with fresh strawberries, corn and feta.

At 4:59 PM, Blogger EatTravelEat said...

The brisket looks great; I agree, that pile of onion straws looks huge. I haven't been here before, even though I've passed by it almost everytime I visit SCP, but have never tried it. I've only visited Wolfgang Puck's cafe and the Clubhouse before, and both visits occured a long time ago!

Interesting use of putting a celebrity into your post! :)

At 7:07 AM, Blogger Juliet said...

Tasty offering indeed. But yeah, the price would keep me away from a place like that. If I'm going to spend over $10 on food, I would rather it be something like sushi. Less guilt and high taste, IMO

At 8:26 AM, Blogger Diamond Dog said...

Five Crowns in Corona Del Mar is owned by Lawry's and has the exact same prime rib. Plus you can feel really young there because everyone that eats there is like 80 years old.

At 9:32 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Loving Annie,

As far as roast beef dips go, nothing can match Houston's. I really need to go and do a proper post of it. What they've been able to do with just bread, meat and broth is simply...magic.


WOW! I feel like the frog in the slowly heating pot. I've been eating there off-and-on, and never realized the prices are that much higher now. I knew that it's more expensive, but I wouldn't have thought it was 50% higher on the prime rib!

And yes! I had heard about the Japanese Food Festival. Thanks for the tip. Though I can't make it (I'm too pooped from my day job to do anything at night midweek), I also wrote about it on Stick a Fork In It.

Here's my post:


Oh, don't get me wrong! I think Anne Hathaway is hella hot. I even went to see Princess Diaries opening night, which turned out to be a completely different movie than I was expecting. I was hoping for more Pretty Woman. But like Julia Roberts before her, Anne's teeth are ginormous -- horse-like. That's different from looking like a horse, which is Sarah Jessica Parker (Don't yell at me for thinking this -- Kevin and Bean spent almost an entire show on it).


Quattro! Well I'll be! I completely forgot about that place. And what you described sounds awesome. I'm going to have check that out.


The onion straws here are perfect: Dusted briefly before being fried crisp and greaseless. I could almost just have them as filling for a sandwich. Nothing else needed!

And I like to take jabs at celebrities when I get a chance. It's fun! Plus Anne was in the Academy Awards opener. So I couldn't resist!


True. True. I would much rather eat sushi or noodles. Heck, I ate noodles last night! And sushi last week! I'm planning on sushi the end of the week this week too. Sushi Shibucho omakase, get in my stomach!


Ah, denture on meat action eh? Five Crowns has been on my to do list for years. But then, a lot of new places I discover get precedent and it gets pushed farther back. I'm guessin' I'll have time to try Five Crowns. Seems like they've been there forever.

At 9:37 AM, Blogger DanGarion said...

Ah I'm right there with you now Edwin. Anne and Julia = Hawt, SJP = Gallop Gallop!


Oh and K&B are now the best think on morning radio again since Carolla was taken off the air.

At 7:14 PM, Blogger Chubbypanda said...

Waaait a sec. Isn't there that half-assed food court by the Sears? Or did that go the way of the dino?

At 8:11 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


SJP = Gallop Gallop!



I don't think so, not for as long as I've been in O.C. There's a Rainforest Cafe there next to Sears and Del Taco, which, in my opinion, is worse than a typical mall food court!

At 2:23 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

I'm a bit of a gossip site whore... um, kind of a guilty pleasure of mine and according to most:

SJP = horse
Hillary Duff = chipmunk
Anne Hathaway = squirrel

I would totally pay for a meal there. It all sounds good. You made me curious about the dip at Houston's too.

At 12:38 AM, Blogger Right Way to Eat said...

Best French Dip Sandwich I ever had?.... Nate N' Al at BH. Philippe is a close 2nd tho.

BTW, Anne Hathaway eating at Lawry's? Hahaha. Yeah, she needs to eat alright!

At 8:31 PM, Blogger ila said...

elmo, i always pass by this mini-lawry's when i visit williams-sonoma. i am a sucker for prime rib, so i will keep your review in mind.
as for scp eateries, i am a sucker for marche moderne.

At 11:40 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


I probably shouldn't ask, but what do they think of Jessica Biel? I'm thinkin': fox!

You should totally check out Houston's French Dip. It's $11 the last time I checked, but well worth it.


I gotta try Nate N' Al. I'm sure it's expensive since it's in BH, but I guess Philippe's is getting up there too...$7 or $8 the last time I ate it.


Of all the items at Lawry's, the brisket's my fave. And I'm no prime rib expert, but this one's decent. Probably better at the original, but really, who wants to drive to L.A. just for prime rib?

At 3:30 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

Biel = herm.

Hehehehe. She has a bangin' body, but yeah, her face is sometimes... ehhh. Depends on the angle of the photo. Plus, she's a major famewhore.

Seriously, I read way too much of that shit.

At 3:32 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

Seriously, I read way too much of that shit.

Apparently, I don't read enough!

At 5:42 PM, Blogger DanGarion said...

There is a girl that looks like Jessica Biel that works breakfast on Sundays at Arthur's in Orange...

At 7:41 AM, Blogger joanh said...

YUM! I always eat there when we go to South Coast. Ok, sometimes Corner Bakery or CPK on the other side. There's also a Lawry's Carvery in Century City Mall, but I feel like the food at this one is better.


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