I don’t often visit Balboa Bay Resort even though it’s only a short drive away. I hear about A&O Kitchen + Bar from several people, and decide it’s time to pay them a visit. A&O stands for Anchors and Oceans — if you didn’t already know — and the nautical moniker fits perfectly with the view of the bay right outside on the patio.
The menu is simple and pretty easy to maneuver. There are quite a few selections I am leaning towards, simply because those are items I always order, items I really love to eat.
We begin with Pretzel Sticks ($8), soft dark pretzels served with a spicy grain mustard. We love the chewiness of the pretzels and the dipping mustard is fantastic, with the right hint of kick. Perfect to go with one of the icy cold beers they have on tap.
While on the subject of beers, here’s another item which pairs perfectly! “Popcorn And Pig” ($7) is a house made caramel popcorn dotted with bacon, peanuts and a sprinkling of fleur de sel. The salty sweet combination is so addicting and I wish they would sell it in a jar. It is so worth ordering an extra to take home with you for later.
The Chicken Wings ($12) are phenomenal! These made it onto my wings list which I posted a few weeks ago. They are crispy on the outside and delightfully moist on the inside. The coating is full-flavored and the accompanying Indian raita yogurt dipping sauce is lovely — hints of refreshing mint throughout.
Cock-A-Leekie Soup ($9) is definitely a hit! The potato and kale soup is dotted with pheasant sausage and salty pancetta. Creamy, rich and so delicious, it is a perfect meal when you want something comforting.
If you’re vegetarian, there are choices for you as well. Baked Spaghetti Squash ($16) is served with lusciously creamy burrata and a perfect house-made marinara sauce. Some arugula accompanies for color but I didn’t need that at all. The squash is so flavorful and works as an entree or a shared side dish. It is low carb as well if you’re on a paleo diet.
However, it is the 8 Oz Kobe Burger ($18) which impresses. The succulent pattie is topped with an heirloom tomato slice, grilled romaine lettuce, pickled onion, baconaise, and sandwiched between a cheddar bacon bun. It is devoured quickly and eagerly.
I am not wanting dessert, but the Guinness Stout & Salted Caramel Ice Cream Float ($10) is calling my name. I manage to only consume half of it — but if you’re game, this is a stellar ice cream float as the salted caramel and bitterness of the Guinness helps offset what would otherwise be a very sweet treat.
A&O also has a happy hour which I’m going to check out soon.
A&O Kitchen + Bar
Balboa Bay Resort
1221 W Coast Hwy
Newport Beach, CA 92663