new chef at Five Crowns & SideDoor

I was invited recently to meet the new Executive Chef at Five Crowns and SideDoor and try a few menu items at the same time. The garden event was casual and we were able to watch Chef Gregory Harrison and Chef Ryan Wilson, Executive Chef of Lawry’s Restaurant, Inc. prepare some of the gorgeous tidbits we were eating that evening.

The casual cocktail party naturally offered some in-house crafted cocktails including¬†English Punch Pimms #1 with orange bitters, housemade strawberry lemon-lime soda and cucumber ribbons. It was so easy to drink you can’t just stop at one.

We were treated to delicious hors d’oeuvres while we mingled and chatted with the chefs.

Cured King salmon served on a spicy sauerkraut cracker with stone fruit and horseradish creme fraiche had all the textural components I liked.

The chefs took advantage of the lovely produce in season right now. Crispy squash blossom stuffed with burrata cheese is a different take to the ricotta cheese usually utilized in this dish. A richer texture is produced and the squash blossoms were beautifully crispy and light.

Octopus carpaccio with citrus, frisee, cilantro and yuzu was my favorite item of the evening. I must have eaten about four plates of these. The octopus was tender and the aromatic yuzu was heavenly bite after bite.

Pork belly skewers with candied cauliflower truffle was innovative and I loved it (even though I’m not a huge fan of pork belly as you all know) as it wasn’t as sweet as it sounds.

Lobster bisque topped with vidalia foam and roe was delightful and I would return and have a big bowl of this to start.

Gazpacho was such a refreshing change in this heat and the panino was exactly what we needed to go with it. It’s the classic grilled cheese and tomato soup given a modern face lift.

Salmon tartare was delicious with hazelnuts and nettle pesto. I love tartare and uniquely paired with the nuts and pesto, created a really flavorful mouthful.

Charcuterie with dates, bacon, wild rice and Point Reyes cheese was a mouthful of salty, sweet, smoky and a slight crunch from the wild rice. Simply lovely!

Espresso creme brulee served with a biscotti was one of the two desserts we sampled. Decadent, sinful and very satisfying!

The most delightful item of the night was cookies and milk, home made cookies served warm with a glass of icy cold milk. What nostalgia to be given a dessert such as this.

For a chance to experience Chef Greg Harrison’s creations, visit Five Crowns or SideDoor soon to take advantage of these new items we tasted.

I have a $100 gift card courtesy of Five Crowns/SideDoor for one of my readers to win. Leave me a comment and tell me your experience with this legendary restaurant, or why you haven’t visited yet. Get your entries in by Sunday and winner will be announced on Monday.

Five Crowns
3801 E Coast Hwy
Corona del Mar, CA 92625
Tel: 949-760-0331

Five Crowns on Urbanspoon

3801 E Coast Hwy
Corona del Mar, CA 92625
Tel: 949-717-4322

SideDoor on Urbanspoon


  1. says

    One of my earliest restaurant memories was dressing up and visiting this restaurant. Unfortunately, i was too young to understand what a treat it was. Hopefully I will have the chance to visit again and truly appreciate it!

  2. Jeff K says

    First off I’m amazed at how good these dishes look! Wow. I first started hearing about this restaurant when I was a kid. My parents would go there for special occasions and when we would drive by I would see the Lions out in the front and thought it was the most amazing place. Unfortunately I was never taken there. I’ve since had two experiences there and funny enough both of them were weddings. As we all know it’s tough to judge food at a wedding because of the mass production element. I’ve wanted to try it again lately because of the Sidedoor but so far, nothing has panned out. With the new chef and these new dishes (and drinks, I love Pimms) I would love to be able to sit down and have a proper go at it!

    Great review!

  3. says

    I’ve been coming to Five Crowns and Side Door for quite a while, but I think the last time I was here was last summer! I’d definitely love to come back and try some of these new items they have (mm, salmon tartare…). The Pimm’s Cup is a must, and I do love me some pork belly!
    -Stephanie Han

  4. paul kim says

    side door is one of my favorite places for date night. it’s noisy, crowded, yet still intimate. food has always been great. haven’t tried since they changed chefs so i hope to go again soon. thanks

  5. says

    Oh my gosh I had the best time at SideDoor last year! It’s so cute inside too. There were 3 of us there and we ordered a bottle of wine and a cheeseboard and the potato chips with blue cheese and prosciutto on them and they were amazing. After that we each ordered an entree, which are small portions – just right. And later we finished with a couple of tasty desserts. It’s the kind of place you just want to hang out at for hours. I’ve been dying to go back ever since! :)

  6. says

    Its on my list to try, I just haven’t had the time. If I do win, I sure would order a few more dishes! The squash blossom does look amazing. I was just reading a cream cheese filled , fried squash blossom recipe but yours does look a lot more amazing. The lobster bisque is something I would definitely order. I have tried making crab bisque and wanted to see if I can duplicate it as a lobster bisque. So much dishes, so little time

  7. Lindsey Corbin says

    I went to Side Door when it first opened but have never been to 5 Crowns. We had a great time at Side Door, but it was really crowded and we haven’t had the chance to go back! We would love to try it again, especially seeing that Octopus! That is my favorite fish :) LOVE IT!

  8. Nicole mosher says

    Love side door! Went once and had the greatest halibut and lentils. The lentils were surprisingly refreshing with the lemon zest in it.

  9. andrea lacorte says

    Those dishes look and sound amazing! To be honest, I don’t think I’ve heard much about this restaurant, so I haven’t had a reason to try it, but your descriptions sure do change that!

  10. Lisa says

    The last time I went to Five Crowns was too long ago, and the food was very typical English prime rib. It was a bit boring, hence I have forgotten to return to this restaurant. After reading your blog about this restaurant and the new chef, I am motivated to return to see for myself. Now if I win this gift card, I will definitely visit Five Crowns pronto.

  11. Jay P says

    Unfortunately I’ve never been there, as I’m rarely in the area. Have been wanting to hit up Side Door for a while for their craft beer selection.

  12. says

    Wow! I’ve never been or heard of this place. Thanks for sharing. Do you have the prices also to each dish? I’m definitely looking forward to trying the:
    Cured King salmon
    Octopus carpaccio
    Lobster bisque

  13. Gilbert Mercado says

    Although I have been to their “big brother” restaurant, Lawry’s the Prime Rib in LA, I have never been to the Side Door or Five Crowns, but would love the chance to go and try these wonderful dishes.

  14. Jonathan says

    I always thought 5 Crowns was a steakhouse who’s main clientele was old people?? Didn’t think that would be for me. We’ve been to Side Door twice for brunch. First time was a great experience. Came back with my parents and the service was incredibly smug and slow. Have not been back since. After looking into 5 Crowns a little more it does look like it might be only for old people! Might need to visit!

    • says

      Hi Jonathan, I think in the past it might have been for old people, but they have worked hard to change that image and they are now moving with the times to appeal to the younger crowd. Of course they still have the prime rib which is their signature item, but most of the menu is new and refreshed from the old one. Give them a try!

  15. Yvonne Suh says

    I’m still working my way through the gastropub scene in Orange & Santa Ana, but I’ve had my eye on SideDoor for a while. Glad to see that the food looks enticing! Thank you for this giveaway!

  16. Erik J says

    It’s funny to me, because I wasn’t attracted to Five Crowns, I figured they were a little bit out of my reach except for perhaps a special occasion. Side Door though? That seemed eminently possible though again, it wasn’t for their food. I first heard about their taps and loved their variety. Then I started getting their tweets and I drooled a little bit reading about their brunches…it’s just a bit difficult to get their with two small children…it’ll happen someday, eventually.

  17. Gregory McCann says

    Mom & Dad ate there for years in the late 60’s thru ’82, to celebrate their anniversary, until they divorced. Myself? I have never eaten there. Would relish the opportunity. Hope you had a great time in Del Mar today! GMc

  18. Bob Bailey says

    Wow! I loved the food at Five Crowns/Side door. How could they possibly improve on something so amazing. But, I’m sure they will with Chef Harrison in the kitchen. I hope to get there soon! Thank you Anita for wonderful article and photos.

    Bob Bailey

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