We’re going into summer and what’s better than firing up the barbecue and grilling some meat on a Sunday evening? Well, I think making reservations at The Island Hotel’s Oak Grill is what I’d prefer to do.
Last night, Oak Grill launched Slow Smoked Sundaze, the restaurant’s version of Sunday Supper, available throughout the summer. I’ll have to admit, I’m not a big fan of traditional barbecue meats, but Chef Marc Johnson has created a menu which has a little of something for everyone.
My friends and I start with some Backyard Lemonade infused with basil and fresh strawberries. You may enjoy this bottomless beverage or choose Spiked Lemonade ($10/carafe) which infuses Tito’s vodka to the Backyard Lemonade. Sip slowly as it is dangerously strong. (photo credit: Oak Grill)
Everyone begins with Farmer’s Salad, a mix of field greens, beets, walnuts, corn, cranberries, and goat cheese, all tossed in a honey lemon vinaigrette.
Then, a little Pickled Plate and half a Deviled Egg will leave you wishing there is more. The deviled egg is creamy and scrumptious. All the pickled vegetables are made in-house — there are sliced carrots with a hint of curry, sweet cucumbers, and my favorite, the tart cauliflower.
I am here with friends so we are able to taste all the Back Patio Entrées. Diners will have a choice of one entrée and a slab of cornbread served with the tastiest honey butter you’ll ever eat.
There is Baby Back Ribs, Brisket, Cedar-planked Salmon and a Whole Roasted Catch of the Day — branzino stuffed with lemon and thyme. However, my absolute favorite is Fried Chicken! You get five pieces of “Nashville Hot Chicken” – perfectly moist chicken with a crispy exterior. If you like spicy, then you’ll love the hot drizzle made with brown sugar, heavy cayenne pepper, black pepper, smoked paprika, salt and the fryer oil from the fried chicken. My mouth is watering as I write this.
Each diner may also choose two sides. There is a stellar Cole Slaw; Corn on the Cob; Fries; a perfect Mac & Cheese which has depth but isn’t too dense. The Mashed Potatoes are good, but the Potato Salad is even better! It is dotted with fresh English peas and celery. We also love the Sautéed Greens which is Swiss chard on the night of our visit. (photo credit: Oak Grill)
When you’re done, there are two desserts to choose from. You might not have any room left after eating everything, but there is a solid Pecan Pie …
… and my favorite — Pizookie Sundaze — a warm cookie served in a skillet and topped with a scoop of creamy ice cream.
Slow Smoked Sundaze is available every Sunday. $34 adult price includes choice of Back Patio Entrees and shared salad, breads, two sides, desserts and complimentary Backyard Lemonade; $12 for children five to 12. Price excludes tax and gratuity. Reservations encouraged. Call 949.760.4920 or visit opentable.com.
at The Island Hotel
690 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660