Charlie Palmer’s has always been known for its sexy cocktails and the flow of OC’s beautiful people through its doors. I’ve been to lunch and dinner several times, but I like the lounge area the best. The restaurant has recently introduced some new small plates and cocktails on the lounge menu, perfect to share with your friends after work or for a light dinner.
Special cocktails include Blood Orange Mojito ($14) with Barcardi rum, lime, blood orange, mint, soda, or Vino Fresco ($14) with 42 Below Vodka, basil, grapes, lime. If you’re a fan of gin, Little Gypsy ($14) may just be for you! Bombay gin, rhubarb bitters, sage and grapefruit juice complete this drink.
My favorite was Valentino ($14) a El Jimador tequila-based cocktail with beet juice and lemon juice. Deep red and slightly sweet, it was so delicious, but pretty strong as well.
While sipping on cocktails, order up some small plates to nibbe on. Some of my favorites included Seaweed Salad ($12), a generous portion of briny seaweed tossed in an apple miso vinaigrette and topped with nori chips. A beautifully balanced bowl of salty, tart, sweet together with the textural combination of the crispy nori and the crunchy seaweed.
Steamed Clams ($14) flavored with chorizo and roasted garlic aioli with a pinch of glass noodles on the bottom soaking up the broth is a must. This umami-filled item was my favorite.
Roasted Bone Marrow ($14) is so rich and decadent you’d have to share this with someone. Topped with black garlic prune pesto and panko, then finished off under the salamander, the textures are soft, gooey, crunchy. Served with slices of grilled bread, I scooped the marrow and slathered it over the toasted bread and enjoyed!!
Lamb Belly Steam Buns ($9) had awesome flavors of Korean gojuchang and tamarind. The sweet, spicy tart lamb was tender and deeply infused with the rich marinade. Cucumber and sesame finished the filling. The only thing I didn’t care for too much was the thickness of the buns.
I was teetering on my decision regarding the Chicken Liver Pate Tea Sandwiches ($10) because although I enjoyed the pate filling tremendously, the bread was not the best accompaniment for this dish. As I bit into the sandwich, the pate would ooze out of the sides and end of the finger sandwich. Perhaps toast points would be a better vehicle choice for the pate? I did love the red onion fig marmalade and the freshness of the arugula accoutrements.
Grab some friends and check out these new items and have a drink or two on me! I’m giving away a $50 giftcard to Charlie Palmer’s this week for one of my readers to win. Leave me a comment and tell me what your favorites are at Charlie Palmer’s… or, if you’ve never been, what item(s) would entice you to go. Don’t forget to leave your FULL name! Entries close on Sunday April 7th, winner announced Monday, April 8th! Good Luck!
Charlie Palmer’s at South Coast Plaza
3333 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626