/ The Orange County Guide
Orange County — By Abbie Mood on June 5, 2010 at 1:13 am
Filed under: restaurant

Restaurant Review: Sorrento Grille in Laguna Beach

The next time you are visiting the beach or shopping in downtown Laguna Beach, consider having dinner at the Sorrento Grille.  Just a few blocks from the ocean, the restaurant offers a wide variety of small plates and large plates, as well as a nice selection of red and white wines and cocktails.

We started with the wine list, most of which were from California, and the cocktail list.  I chose one of their popular martinis, the PinaCranaKazi ($10), while my guest chose a 2005 Three Saints Cabernet Sauvignon from the Santa Ynez Valley (6 oz./$12, 9 oz./$18).  Shortly after came some bread that went very well with the restaurant’s fruity olive oil.

Wood Grilled Salmon

The first course was a delicious flatbread (seasonal market price), that was thin and crispy topped with potatoes, artichokes, small ham pieces, and seasoned with parsley.  When the manager, Lori, was telling me about the chef and his unique creations, she explained how she gives him the benefit of the doubt and trusts his instinct in combining interesting flavors.  Using the flatbread as an example, she wouldn’t have chosen to put potato on a flatbread, but the chef did it and it works (which I have to agree with).

After the flatbread, we had the opportunity to try two of the main courses found on the menu – the Wood Grilled Salmon ($24) and the Tuscan Style Rib Eye Steak ($32).  The salmon has a smoky flavor that was delicious without overpowering the white beans, chorizo, fennel, spinach, and brown butter vinaigrette with which it was served.    The steak was coated with a crunchy herb paste and served with well-seasoned braised potatoes, onions, arugula, Parmesan cheese, and natural jus.  Both portions were hearty but not overfilling.

For dessert, we were delighted with a Rustic Apricot Pistachio Tart ($8).  The locally farmed apricots were packaged in a delicious pastry crust, and drizzled with a honey sauce.  It went perfectly with the scoop of creme fraiche ice cream.

Sorrento Grille, Laguna Beach

I would recommend the Sorrento Grille for dinner or drinks with a friend, date, or for a small business meeting.  The high ceilings and wall of windows give the restaurant and bar a patio feeling.  Even though the tables were positioned rather closely together, I didn’t feel over crowded. We went on a Tuesday night, and although the restaurant was busy, the General Manager, Lori McLean, visited many of the tables to chat with the diners.

The Sorrento Grille is located at 370 Glenneyre Street in Laguna Beach (map).  There is metered street parking all around the restaurant, and a pay lot across the street.  Reservations are suggested and can be made by calling (949) 494-8686.  While the official dress code is business casual, any attire is acceptable.

The bar opens nightly at 5:00 p.m. and the restaurant opens for dinner at 5:30 p.m.

Photo Credits: personal collection

Related places:
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    370 Glenneyre St
    370 Glenneyre St, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
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