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Comfort Food is Anything But Common

 

By Patty Pinto

At 6’1” and brandishing tattoos beneath his shirt-sleeves, Chef Ryan Adams’ appearance suggests a ruffian, ex-prison inmate. On closer inspection, though, each artistic piece of ink signifies Adams’ passion for all matters culinary. Beneath the intimidating façade resides a gentle spirit and culinary savant.

Adams and trusty sidekick Mitch Gillian, who together bind up 40 years of culinary experience under their aprons, are working their magic at Three Seventy Common, one of a crop of new restaurants to open in Laguna Beach despite tough economic times.

Three Seventy Common specializes in homestyle dishes. Don’t expect  “tweezer food” or culinary flourishes, but merely old-fashioned comfort food.  Formerly known as Sorrento Grill, where Adams was executive chef, the same location now houses Adams’ own vision as chef-owner. While the décor and ambience has not changed much, the food has certainly evolved.

Small plates are a great way to expand your culinary horizons and experience different foods and Three Seventy Common offers a nice variety of options. Plump and juicy lemon-flavored prawns are sprinkled with Espellette – a smoky mild flavored Spanish chili powder.  Tempura battered Japanese Shishito poppers arrive piping hot and over-stuffed with creamy goat cheese.  Traditional French-Canadian Poutine is a generous pile of French fries smothered in veal gravy, bacon and horseradish cream. All dishes are equally delicious!  My favorite dish, seared foie gras, comes served with mini huckleberry pancakes.  Duck liver fanatics better enjoy this delicacy while you are still able; by mid-year, foie gras will be legally banned and removed from California menus.

One dessert left the least impression on my palate. Apple Fried Pies, accompanied by salted caramel and vanilla ice cream, burst with sweet-tart flavor, the pastry lacked the crispness expected from a “fried pie”.  The Presley, though, a confection of cinnamon toast slices, caramelized banana, peanut butter ice cream and honey drizzle, provided a satiating finish. Bread slices are gently toasted and topped with a thick slice of banana glazed in a wafer thin crispy crust.  A generous scoop of ice cream and thin ribbons of honey complete this taste treat.

The bar area is small and each bar stool coveted by patrons dining on small plate items, sipping custom cocktails, wine or various beers.  Despite the hustle bustle in the kitchen and dining room, Chefs Ryan and Mitch remain calm and hospitable, greeting each customer and trying to ensure the standard of service is excellent and menu items cooked to their expectations. The atmosphere is charming, food well prepared and service commendable.  “Sunday Social” serves up three course family style dinners for approximately $24 per adult and $12 for children.

Three Seventy Common, 370 Glenneyre St., (949) 494-8686. Tues-Sunday. Bar service begins at 4 p.m.; dinner at 5 p.m.

 

South Laguna resident Patty Pinto blogs for OCinSite.com

 

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