I’ve always been a fan of David Wilhelm’s restaurants. There have been many, and all legendary. Among my favorites: French 75, Chat Noir, Chimayo, Sorrento Grille.
Wilhelm opened Tavern House Kitchen + Bar in 2019, and it quickly became a favorite of locals, and of mine. I’ve organized group outings there (including fellow alumni of Edison High School in Huntington Beach), I’ve savored brunch, lunch and dinner, and I enjoyed a fabulous Thanksgiving Feast on the patio last November.
That’s why it was fun to return to Tavern House this week to meet up (and catch up) with fellow journalist Donna Bunce for drinks and appetizers inside the restaurant.
First, what a nice sight to see so many cars valet parked in front of Tavern House. A positive note that the pandemic restrictions are easing.
Donna and I arrived at the same time and found seats at the bar. The restaurant was humming with happy patrons obviously enjoying the return of indoor dining. Wilhelm greeted us and somehow knew we were coming because he saved a window table for us overlooking the harbor with boats bobbing in the water. Hard to top that view.
For those who are wondering, covid protocols are in place. Wilhelm has installed clear partitions between tables, and wait staff all wear face coverings.
The sun was bright but starting to set as we ordered Old Fashioned cocktails and perused the menu. We selected several appetizers to start: Town Dock Calamari ($18) with Scallions, Shishito Peppers, and Sweet Chile Aioli; Spicy Ahi Poke ($19) with Avocado, Papaya, Serrano Chiles, Yuzu, and Crispy Wontons; and my favorite Shrimp Dijon ($18) sauteed with Shallots and Mustard and flamed with Whiskey, served with grilled bread.
That’s a fabulous element about Tavern House—they have an extensive appetizer list, so it’s easy to order a variety and share. I admit I hogged more than my portion of the shrimp Dijon. It reminds me of the shrimp en cassoulet I used to enjoy at French 75 many years ago.
For dessert, we shared the Dark Chocolate Malted Mousse with Cointreau cream, a decadent ending to a delicious meal.
While at Tavern House I ran into several people I knew, which means that I’m not the only one who’s glad that indoor dining has returned to Newport Beach.
For more information, visit www.tavernhousekb.com