I’ve been wanting to see Book of Mormon for years now. I had planned on purchasing tickets for a show in New York a few years ago but not everyone in my party was eager to spend the money, so we ended up not going. It was then up in LA, but I didn’t want to drive up to The Pantages, therefore, when I heard it was coming to Segerstrom, I had no doubt in my mind, I was going. I set a note in my calendar and purchased the tickets on the first day they became available.
Although my tickets aren’t for another week, I visited Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge last night, opening night, to sample the Book of Mormon ‘theater menu’ created by one of my favorite chefs in Orange County, Ross Pangilinan. I’ve been meaning to try one of these every since I heard about them several shows ago. I felt it was apropos to select this particular one seeing I was going to Book of Mormon anyway.
If you’re attending a show and plan on dining at Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge, I highly suggest making a reservation! Every time I’ve been here for a performance and have dined here beforehand, the restaurant is packed. Chef Ross and his team are simply amazing and get you out the door and in time for your show even if you’re enjoying a 3-course menu, but be respectful and give them ample time to appropriately serve you.
My dining companion and I enjoyed the 3-course Pre Theater Prix Fixe Menu with two options available including one that’s vegetarian. It is priced at $45/person and $64 with wine pairings.
First Course entitled “Hello”, was a Soft Egg Raviolo, a beautiful package of fine herb ricotta encased in a thin wrapper, surrounded by a mushroom ragout and beef jus bath. Crispy guanciale is added for texture while parmesan adds a salty component. When you cut into the raviolo, the soft egg gently streams onto the plate mixing with the jus creating a luscious sauce for the pasta. We agreed this was a delicious start to our meal.
The other option was “Baptize Me”, a Farmers Market Vegetable Soup, and on the night of our visit, we were graced with Thai curry carrot. Though creamy in texture, it possessed no cream or butter — perfect for vegetarians AND vegans. The hints of curry was subtle, but I thoroughly enjoyed the heavy aromas of lime from the gremolata, lending a very refreshing finish, especially on a sweltering day like this one.
Our Main Course entitled “Making Things Up Again” — all of these titles are songs from Book of Mormon — included Grilled Barramundi served Moroccan style with couscous, harissa scented vegetables and chickpeas, chermoula and preserved lemon.
If you are not a fan of Moroccan flavors, I highly suggest the “Sal Tlay Ka Siti” (an African saying meaning “paradise on earth”). This Mezzelune Pasta dish offers crescent-shaped pasta filled with a sweet corn puree. They are tossed in a in a lime-brown butter sauce with baby corn, artichoke, oven dried tomato and sprinkled with toasted pine nuts. Crispy cilantro adds a perfect crunch to the dish. We were both blown away by how tender the pasta was and how robust the flavors although it possessed no meat.
Our meal came to a close with “Orlando”, a White Chocolate Key Lime Bar sitting atop graham cracker crumbles with a whipped lime ganache topping. Dots of fragrant cilantro coulis lined the plate and I especially loved the raspberry chips and key lime sherbet accompaniments. The combination of sweet and tart is always so pleasant on my palate.
Chocolate fans must indulge in “I Am Here For You”, a Warm Chocolate Molten Cake with coconut tapioca and a dollop of diced pickled fruit. The best part of all was the oozing surprise you get when you break into it!
If you’re not interested in a 3-course dinner, some of these items are also offered a la carte. My only wish is that Leatherby’s is opened on days the performing arts center is not running shows.
Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge
615 Town Center Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626