Oak Grill at Fashion Island Hotel has a new Executive Chef. Brittany Valles, has worked with celebrity chef Michael Voltaggio at ink.well before it closed. Since joining the team at Oak Grill, she has launched the Chef Dinner Series, which is available Sundays and Mondays of each month. For the month of October, the 3-course dinner ($65) with optional wine pairings priced at $25.
The Chef Dinner Series includes three choices for the first two courses, and two dessert options. For the first course, we choose Coraline Endive Salad, an amalgamation of flavors and textures in each bite including bitterness from the endive, and sweetness from the beets. The crispy fried goat cheese is gooey on the inside, giving a varied texture on the palate with every bite.
Salmon Tartare is an unctuously perfect composition of diced salmon paired with smoked creme fraiche dots, lemon, pickled red onions, capers, and shards of “everything spice” tuile. It is a fantastic starter with beautiful flavor profiles, especially the tartness from the lemon, and the crispiness from the tuile.
There is another dish offered which we did not order. Roasted Rainbow Carrots are described on the menu as served with vadouvan almond granola and tofu mustard. This is also the series’ vegan option.
Beef & Broccoli is Chef Brittany’s take on the classic Chinese favorite. A 6oz filet is served with broccoli puree and grilled broccolini, drizzled in meaty, robust beef jus. The beef is tender and you’ll definitely want more of the beef jus.
I’m a sucker for succotash, so of course, Seared Scallops is my pick. The perfectly executed scallops are accompanied by a medley of corn, fava beans, and cherry tomato succotash, and roasted red pepper sauce. Not only is it my favorite dish of the evening, but also, it aesthetically evokes the colors and flavors of fall.
The Saffron Paella is not the traditional rice dish everyone knows, but rather, fideua (noodles) paella. Traditionally a Catalan dish, fideua uses a base of fish stock and a tomato-pepper sauce, but here, it is vegan, comprising oyster mushrooms, artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, and parsley cooked with short, spaghetti-like noodles.
Paying homage to the fall season, Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake is smooth pumpkin pie filling encased in a pastry bowl, served with cinnamon ice cream and sage caramel. It is a tad sweet for my palate, but the pastry bowl is flaky and so tasty I couldn’t stop eating it.
Olive Oil Cake is a playful presentation with bits of airy cake, blackberry yuzu compote, a piercingly tart lime curd, and bits of meringue. It is exactly the sort of dessert I like.
Chef Dinner Series is served from 5pm to close on Sundays and Mondays, and will run this menu until the end of the month. If you can’t make it this month, no worries, the series will return to Oak Grill in January, 2019.
Fashion Island Hotel
690 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660