After months of planning, remodeling and menu creation, Hollywood producer McG and restaurateur Jordan Otterbein (aka River Jetty Restaurant Group partners), known for their acclaimed A Restaurant, have announced the grand opening of their new dining concept, CdM, in – where else – Corona del Mar, in the space on Coast Highway where Crow Bar once stood.
CdM was unveiled to the public on Saturday, March 9, and is now open for dinner daily beginning at 5 p.m. I’m told there was a line to get in on opening weekend, proof that the concept was a hit.
McG and Otterbein both attended Corona del Mar High School, so it’s fitting they returned to the “scene of the crime” with a restaurant described as an unparalleled dining experience that is elevated yet comfortable and approachable.
“We are thrilled to welcome all to experience CdM,” says Otterbein. “It’s an exciting feeling to open a new restaurant that we are so proud of in the amazing community that we grew up in.”
McG told me that CdM restaurant is “born of Sea Kings and Sailors,” referring to the team names from Newport Harbor High School and Corona del Mar High School. “About half the people that come in to A Restaurant are Newport Harbor people, the other half are Corona del Mar people. We want to provide a place where everyone is welcome. We love the magic of a British pub, kind of a ‘Cheers’ culture.”
Vibe is important, but McG said you need more than that.
“You’re nothing without quality cuisine. “Everyone today demands the best, so our food needs to be excellent, and the service needs to be excellent and friendly. “Those are the three elements—vibe, food, service.”
Corporate Executive Chef Jonathan Blackford, who created the dynamic menu at A Restaurant, has introduced CdM’s American menu that highlights unique, hand selected ingredients in each of his dishes.
I took a peek at the menu, and immediately I was intrigued.
Blackford has an array of charcuterie offerings including Duck Liver Pate with huckleberry gelee, huckleberry conserva, grilled bread, mustards, and greens. There is a Small Board with white truffle, chorizo, toscano, prosciutto, pork rillette, pimento cheese, lots of condiments, pickles and bread. The Large Board
is indeed very large, with capicola, white truffle, lomo, rabbit mortadella, pork rillette, coppa, duck pastrami, chorizo, delaware fireball, toscano, pimento cheese, prosciutto, condiments, pickles and bread.
Speaking of bread, how about some Fancy Cheese Bread with NYC ciabatta, oxtail jam, moses sleeper cheese, arugula, and pickled shallots, or the Parker House Rolls served with beurre de baratte, whipped A5 tallow, and fleur de sel.
There are veggie dishes such as BBQ Heirloom Carrots with pecan butter, dill, and herb dressing, and Vegetable Samosas with potato, English pea, carrot, cilantro, and green curry.
Naturally, Chef Blackford has Japanese A5 Wagyu, served here with black garlic aioli, wasabi root, and shimeji mushroom.
And then there is braised oxtail, spicy lobster reginette, pizza with truffles, grouper, pork and beans with pork shoulder, and a specialty of the house: Salt Baked Whole Branzino with parisian potatoes, soft herbs, and a trio of sauces (piccata, puttanesca, salsa verde).
I’m also intrigued by the playful cocktail menu, which contains many clever nods to our local culture.
The Corona Del MARgarita has roca patron, ancho reyes chili, fresh lime juice, magdola orange, and house crafted jalapeño honey agave, while the Tower #5 has
appleton estate, liquid alchemist raspberry, pineapple juice, fresh lime juice, and Myer’s dark rum. There’s also a CdM Mule, and “The Bell” Martini with grey goose, blood orange liqueur, and fresh lime juice.
I’ll be popping over to CdM soon and will report back on the experience.
For reservations visit the CdM website at cdmrestaurant.com or call (949) 287-6600.