What I like about Tabu Grill is its diversity. You can dress up and sit in the more “formal” dining room, or, just as easily, walk in for a casual meal and sit at the counter, or the bar-style tables. The restaurant is cozy but wonderfully eclectic.
The colors are stunning, and I suggest getting there right when it opens to catch a glimpse of it while there is still some natural light. After dark, the restaurant feels like a hidden romantic cove, perfect for date night with your sweetheart. I’ve dined here several times and on my most recent visit, I had a casual meal with a friend, sitting at the counter and watching the action at the open kitchen.
We started with Seared New England Scallops ($16 ) and I was in orgasmic heaven. The scallops were so perfectly cooked, tender and flavorful. These were really huge scallops and would satiate any cravings you might have. I know it did mine. Served with a potato puree, citrus salad and tangerine beurre blanc, the freshness of the citrus and tangerine flavors goes perfectly with the mollusks.
I love poke and used to eat it a lot when I lived in Hawaii, Tabu Poke ($16) is not exactly traditional Hawaiian poke because besides the ahi tuna, there is mango, celery, avocado, mint tossed in a soy ginger essence and served with taro chips. It is more like tartare than a poke, but nevertheless, very refreshing and a perfect start to a meal.
Those of you who love foie gras need to partake in eating more of it before the ban mid-year. La Bella Farms Foie Gras ($22) is seared and served with a sweet-tart cranberry raisin compote, candied walnuts on warm apple toast. Luscious, silky and sinfully delicious. I need to come back again for this!
We finished our savory dishes with Prime Boneless Short Rib ($16), When it comes to short ribs I can either take it or leave it. I’m happy to try it, but more often than not, I’ve not enjoyed it. Boy was I surprised to find this particular one highly pleasing. The meat is so tender, not the least bit dry or chewy.
Braised in a passion fruit soy marinade, the tartness offset the richness of the short rib which made it so easy to eat. Potato puree and stir fry vegetables sit alongside with a roasted pineapple barbecue sauce. I didn’t find the barbecue sauce overly sweet, which is a good thing since I’m not into my protein dishes tasting like my desserts. Very nice!
As if I had room for dessert but we couldn’t resist the Lemon Thyme Panna Cotta ($11). The panna cotta was very subtly hinted with lemon and thyme with a light bouncy texture. I loved the strawberry relish with white balsamic gastrique which was once again sweet and tart.
Every dish was well thought out and well balanced in flavors. I enjoyed everything I tried and am looking to return again to have the foie before it is banned a few months from now.
I have two $50 gift cards to Tabu Grill to giveaway. Leave me a comment with your full name and email address by Sunday March 11th for a chance to win. Winners will be announced Monday 12th.
2892 S Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach, CA 92651