Newport Beach Recs


Never had a sandwich there. They do look complicated. The fried chicken especially the dark meat is especially well executed and downright delicious. So might just want to stick with the chicken and pineapple slaw.

The Mex Poutine was fine, not super memorable. I cook with quite a bit of schmaltz and not sure those fries were supposed to be chickeny :rooster:. Like duck fat and tallow, rendered animal fats are typically neutral. Duck fat and tallow fries :fries: should not taste of duck or beef. Wouldn’t put it past one of the folks at the counter to sell it that way though. The way you describe the way the fries might have been cooked is exactly the way a great fry is made! Poached in fat, then deep fried at a higher temp. Still I wouldn’t go for the fries. Or the biscuits. Biscuits should be better at a fried chicken place. Still, lots of deserved props for Crack Shack on this board.

Great place for kids, cocktails, and delicious fried chicken.


That’s precisely what makes it kid-friendly.


Well-executed fries should never be overtly greasy. These were excessively so.
In my experience, a perfect fry is made by blanching at a low temperature for a while before draining. Then a quick fry at a higher temp to crisp it. Followed by a drain and seasoning…you can easily have perfect fries that are not greasy.
If a group is limited to literally a couple of menu items at a chef-driven place, I wouldn’t be able to recommend it.


When I tried those fries at the original location in SD a year or so ago, they were fantastic and not greasy at all. So disappointing to hear that these ones are. I was looking forward to them being closer to me. :frowning_face:


@thechez5 I think Crack Shack was better when it first opened. I think @A5KOBE and @Ns1 had good experiences when it first opened. But @Chowseeker1999’s many tries and my one try recently was not ideal. There are better places for a nice family dinner with a bar in the OC for the same money. Just my honest opinion.


attran99…how many times did you try Crack Shack and how many menu items?


Once. 4-5 menu items, not including the 4 housemade sauces. All lackluster. Then I read @Chowseeker1999’s many attempts that correlated to my singular effort. No desire to give them any more money afterwards. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.


Olea is good, interesting menu at a decent price point but very noisy and crowded the two times I’ve been. I particularly liked the Honey Duck Wings, Duck Terrine, and Chicken Schnitzel (I guess I was just in a fowl mood). The Blue Crab Oysters were tasty as well but I was not a fan of the Stroganoff.


Agree with DTLAeater (hello from WB btw). We just went to Mozza in NB this past weekend, the pizzas weren’t quite the equal of the Highland location, crusts a little too crispy/not as refined, but I did like how it’s kind of a mix of Osteria Mozza and Chi Spacca as well, with some meat dishes as well as pasta. We really liked the carbonara with mushrooms. It was pretty low key early for brunch, we went with friends who had a picky toddler and the staff were great about giving us things like coloring crayons and paper, and freshly squeezed orange juice on the house when the toddler wouldn’t eat anything else for a spell lol


@DoubleThinker, if you get a pizza (I’m liking the Bianca with or without sausage), the egg raviolo and the focaccia di Recco you can have something from all 3 restaurants- as well as carb overload :joy:.

I’m looking over the past couple of menus and it’s been different every time. I’ve liked all of the vegetable preparations, and the lamb shoulder chops.

I’m boring and usually get some bread and burrata, split a Nancy’s salad and a pizza. And definitely a couple of their aged Negronis.

Enjoy, I might be there tonight as well.


BTW when were you @brritscold and @chewchow going to mention that the NB Mozza had pasta dishes from Osteria and meat dishes from Chi Spacca? My wife is thrilled but I’m a little angry that this information has been withheld.


@BubblyOne: Thanks! And, yes I’ve been looking at their Instagram page actually. They’ve introduced quite a few new dishes it seems including the egg raviolo and focaccia di Recco that you mentioned. And I completely agree with you regarding your usual choices. It’s going to be hard to sway from our usual burrata plus bread plus pizza combination tonight as well.

@chewchow, @DTLAeater, @brritscold too: I’ve never tried any of the pasta dishes of any of the Mozza restaurants, having only been to NB Mozza for pizza. But one of the chief Yelp (I know, shame on me) complaints seems to be that the portion size of pasta is very small for the price at NB Mozza. Does this seems to be the case? Is the portion different at the Highland original establishments?


Respectfully disagree on Bluegold, based on my few experiences. I love, love, love LSXO, but it can definitely be non-kid-friendly depending on music. They warned us ahead of time on the one occasion they were playing gangsta rap, so calling ahead to ask about the music would be a good idea. Bluegold isn’t bad. I just haven’t been wowed by anything I’ve had there, but I have’t tried the items that @A5KOBE mentions above, and I respect his opinion. Just my $0.02.

Recs off the top of my feeble head:

HB is admittedly sparse on the great food/kid friendly combo.
25° has great burgers and good cocktails. Not sure about beer/wine. We’ve had kids there with no issues.
I haven’t had a ton there, but I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve tried at Watertable at the Hyatt.
I’ve been to HQ Gastropub once, and it has solid burgers and an interesting menu. It seemed like it would be okay for kids when I was there. We’re planning on returning with ours.

Bandera, another Hillstone is great.
I would probably choose Cucina Alessa over Enoteca, but for food, not atmosphere.
Sabatino’s doesn’t have much of a beer list, but they do have a full bar… and some of the best Italian Sausage I’ve ever had.

Happy hunting!


No bar there, silly, but I agree that their food is fantastic.

Yes! ARC and Shuck are also great options there (except for the tomahawk at ARC). The Mix is a regular option for us. Protip: Pueblo and Shuck offer free corkage on your first bottle.

I wouldn’t consider it all that kid-friendly when the gangsta rap is playing. The N-bombs being dropped at one lunch were overwhelming, but as I said above, my experience has been that they warn you when that’s on the playlist, and you can call ahead. All other times I’ve been there, I think it’s probably fine.


Sabatino’s sausage is so good! I don’t eat there much, but if I’m around the area I buy a couple of pounds for home.


I have not been to NB Mozza since the addition of other mozzaplex menu items, so I can’t speak to that. But from eating at Osteria Mozza, the pastas are sized such that you may need 2-3 courses to fill up (appetizer, pasta, main). Osteria is less casual than the Pizzeria, so it makes sense that the total bill would be higher. At the Pizzeria, our group of four gets a few appetizers and 2-3 pies. Pizzeria is more conducive to family style meals if not ordering multiples of the same dish.


Mozza adequate and Crack Shack great?



Da Hawaiian got a 2nd location by Newport Pier that does have a bar!!!


Whoa! Thanks! Don’t know when/if I’ll get there. I can throw a rock and practically hit the HB location from my font yard. In fact, picked lunch up there today. Chili Peppa Chicken and short rib lunch plates. So good.


At risk of commandeering the thread, I’ll post my recent Mozza experience here.

Hit up NB Mozza with a few others on Friday evening. It had been a while since our last visit so we stayed with the typical pizzeria offerings. Service was actually good, which had not been the case at earlier visits.

Menu (in case it may differ from online):

Ordered the caprese, pane bianco, and tricolore salad to start. All were great, the anchovy dressing on the salad reminded me of puntarelle I had in Rome :yum:

Everyone got a pizza for the main. My go to I think is to specifically ask for the off-menu tomato, Sicilian oregano, and EVOO pie then add burrata, sausage, and sage. The tomato sauce they use on this one is different from their typical offerings and makes the pie less soggy IMHO. I noticed a difference for the better since my last visit. The crust had great flavor and was crisp in some parts and chewy in others. Best pizza I’ve ever had, me thinks.

This is probably my favorite not-hole-in-the-wall restaurant in OC.