It’s not often that a high-profile restaurant such as Five Crowns introduces a new chef and launches a new menu at the same time, but that’s what happened last month when we were invited to meet new Executive Chef Anthony Endy and sample some of his summer menu creations.
Chef Endy comes to Five Crowns and SideDoor from Paul Martin’s American Grill, where he served as Chef Partner and most recently as Director of Culinary Operations.
Prior to joining Paul Martin’s, Endy was Sous Chef for the acclaimed chef Julie Robles, and spent most of his early career at the Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café in Santa Barbara as both Executive Chef and General Manager.
“We are thrilled to welcome Chef Anthony to our core team and restaurant family,” said Lawry’s Restaurants Inc. Corporate Executive Chef and Vice President, Ryan O’Melveny Wilson. “He brings a creativity and consistent excellence to the kitchen that will be a tremendous asset and continue to maintain the highest standards for both of our restaurants.”
“Becoming a part of the Lawry’s Restaurants family is a very exciting step for me,” commented Endy in a press release. “I believe in their philosophy of high quality, seasonal and responsibly sourced ingredients as well as their family operated personal approach to the table to make for a memorable experience at each meal.”
Our menu tasting was indeed memorable. We started with the Peach and Burrata salad ($14), which Catherine called “sweet and refreshing—perfect for summer. It had large slices of ripe peaches, a generous helping of burrata, endive, arugula and walnuts with a light d’anjou vinaigrette.”
“The Roasted Jidori Chicken ($25) was juicy and full of flavor,” added Catherine. “I loved the crisp golden skin, and the duck fat roasted potatoes are delicious. It’s also served with carrots, cipollini onion and sauce vert.”
“I like the seared ahi tuna ($34) with the sautéed peas, it’s nice and light, another perfect dish for summer,” said Christopher.
The verbal special is a dinner for two including a 32 oz porter house, bone marrow, roasted potatoes and sautéed spinach (the specials may change nightly).
The seasonal dessert is a strawberry shortcake (Catherine’s favorite) with two shortcake biscuits filled with fresh strawberries and whipping cream.
For more information, visit lawrysonline.com/five-crowns.
Burgers and Pot Pies at Royal Hen
We had heard from fellow foodies that the new Royal Hen restaurant on Balboa Island (launched last fall by Chef Tim Goodell of Aubergine fame) had one of the best hamburgers in Orange County.
That’s a lofty claim, especially since the burger is not on the menu and they only make a handful every night, so of course we had to go check it out for ourselves.
“I loved the cozy atmosphere of the Royal Hen, it feels welcoming and intimate,” said Catherine.
We started with cocktails: Afternoon Tea ($12) with Earl Gray-infused vermouth for Catherine, and a Silk Road Sazerac ($12) with single distilled shochu (a Japanese alcoholic beverage) for Christopher.
“Wow—this is one of the best Sazerac cocktails I have had,” exclaimed Christopher. “Smooth, mellow, yet has that distinct Sazerac taste.”
Naturally, we ordered the burger ($17), which Catherine declared “a must-try, but make sure to call ahead as they only make a handful a day and they go fast. This juicy burger with arugula, tomato confit and pancetta is served with fresh-cut, twice-fried fries.”
We also discovered another off the menu special: chicken pot pie ($16), so of course we had to try that too.
“Hands down the best chicken pot pie I have ever had,” said Christopher as he eagerly scooped forkfuls of the juicy chicken mixture into his mouth. “This has more chicken packed into a pot pie that I thought possible and still have room for vegetables and broth. And the crust is perfect. I’d lick the pan clean but we’re in public.”
“That never stopped you before,” teased Catherine.
We vowed to return and try more menu items, including duck and foie gras pie, rabbit and black truffle agnolotti, and strawberry rhubarb pie with nutmeg ice cream.