By Christopher Trela & Catherine Del Casale | NB Indy
Skyloft in Laguna Beach made a splash when it opened last November, offering rooftop dining with a Main Beach view overlooking Coast Highway in downtown Laguna Beach.
The menu was recently retooled thanks to new chef Arthur Ortiz, who previously worked at Au Cheval Restaurant in Chicago. The Toronto native became a fan of Southern-style cooking early in his career, and has transfused that love of smoked food to the new Skyloft menu.
Part of the revamping includes a secret locals menu called Artifacts, ranging from taco concoctions, Sky Fries (to which you can add chunks of smoked bacon or a fried egg), brisket bowls and more. The Artifacts menu is available on the main level dining and bar.
At a recent special dinner to sample the new menu, Catherine started with the Day Spa skinny cocktail with Hendrick’s gin, St. Germain, cucumber, basil and blackberries, shaken with citrus and raw sugar. She described it as light and refreshing while not being overly sweet.
The first course was a bowl of gumbo ($10), a hearty dish that included pulled chicken, chicken andouille, sausage, bell peppers, okra, garlic sticky rice and cilantro. The rice was not pre-mixed so that diners could add it to the soup as they ate.
Then came fried green tomatoes ($11), which Catherine had never tried before. She stands by the statement “everything is better fried.” The tomatoes didn’t disappoint. The dish had avocado, chives, buffalo sauce drizzle, lemon dill aioli, pink peppercorns and cilantro. Nothing about it tasted greasy, the flavors all stood out and the tomatoes were crisp and juicy.
Then came a fruit and honey plate ($15) with watermelon, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, mango, cantaloupe, grapes on the vine, as well as some granola bits made with gluten-free oats, Greek yogurt and agave honey.
An all-in family-style platter ($65) followed, a must-have for a table filled with hungry friends. It includes a full rack of ribs, herb roasted half chicken, brisket with mash, lemon herb gravy, au jus, chive butter cream, mac ’n cheese coleslaw, cornbread and whipped honey butter.
The brisket literally fell apart and melted in your mouth. The fresh cornbread has corn, cheese and a hint of jalapeno. The mashed potatoes included small pieces of crisp potato skins, almost a cross between mash and baked.
For a complete list of daily specials, including happy hour and full menu, visit SkyloftOC.com.
Best Steak In Town, Hands Down
Selanne Steak Tavern again received best steak award at the fifth annual Golden Foodie Awards held in Newport Beach last month.
The restaurant co-owned by former hockey player Teemu Selanne previously earned steak and wine awards. Wine Spectator magazine recently issued its award of excellence to the Laguna Beach dining establishment.
Another local winner was Starfish for best Asian cuisine.
Top chefs and food industry icons including Laguna local Wing Lam, co-founder of Wahoo Fish Taco, came out to toast their peers and sample their goods at the Fairmont Newport Beach.
Awards were given in 24 categories with voting by industry professionals, restaurant devotees and others.