Broadway by Amar Santana
My girlfriends and I found ourselves at Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach for dinner last week. This contemporary American restaurant has been open for less than a year but has already received stellar reviews including one in April’s Orange Coast Magazine and has recently been named OpenTable’s Top 100 Best “Hot Spots” in the country. We were a little intimidated by the sophisticated menu but in the end were treated to an exceptional meal in a space I can only describe as “industrial luxe.”
Chef Santana, formerly Executive Chef of Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdales, South Coast Plaza, says his “modern cuisine of the Americas” menu features “top quality ingredients with a focus on local farms.” The menu is divided into first and second courses with plates starting at $8 to $38. They have an overwhelmingly large wine selection as well as a selection cocktails they call “House Concoctions.”
We ordered a moderately priced bottle of Malbec and nibbled on crispy bread sticks as we looked over the menu. The first plate to catch my eye was the roasted and pickled beet salad served with burrata cheese, raspberry vinaigrette, puffed black rice and nasturtium (an edible plant similar to watercress). We decided we would get the beet salad, an order of french fries with a chipotle aioli (completely and 100% addicting), and the highly recommended fried brussels sprouts to share as our first course. The fried brussels sprouts were out of control. They were perfectly crisp and paired with Chinese sausage, cilantro, and sweet and sour sauce that took my love for these little cabbages to another level.
Choosing the second course was a bit more challenging. The vegetarian in our party had only one option to choose from – a toasted barley risotto – and the gluten-free eater opted for another starter – Japanese hamachi – as her main course. I chose the pan roasted Mary’s chicken with parmesan polenta, trumpet royale mushrooms, and shishito peppers. I enjoyed my dish but could have died and gone to heaven with the first course alone.
Since we were celebrating a birthday we decided we must have dessert and ordered the caramel chocolate ganache tart with cinnamon whipped cream, vanilla maldon salt, and a chipotle chocolate ice cream. The plate arrived with its components deconstructed and accompanied by a burning cinnamon stick. I’m still not sure of the relevance of the cinnamon stick but it certainly was a conversation piece. The chipotle chocolate ice cream was incredible. It was cold and smooth quickly followed by smoke and spice. And when you put the tart and ice cream together? Out of this world.
For a Monday night, Broadway by Amar Santana was packed. A long banquet table is available for larger parties while a bank of seats hug the wall in this narrow restaurant. Chef Santana designed the dining room so that his patrons would get a great view of the “show” happening in the open kitchen. The steely gray walls and glass lamps strangely compliment the hammered nail Louis XVI-style dining chairs and rustic wooden tables. It’s a beautiful spot for an intimate dinner for two or a party of twelve.
Broadway by Amar Santana
328 GLENNEYRE ST, LAGUNA BEACH, CA 92651 (949) 715-8234
Reservations are recommended.
Disclosure: On occasion, contributors of The Trend Tribe receive products, compensation and/or services gratis or at discounted rates. This practice does not influence the contributor’s point of view or the outcome of the review. All descriptions are factual and accurately reflect the reviewers experience. The opinions are their own. All photos belong to writer except for the following: Orange Coast Magazine, risotto, hamachi, dessert plate, French fries.