Seven or eight years ago, I celebrated my 30th birthday at Five Crowns Restaurant in the nearby beach town of Corona Del Mar. Yes, I said seven or eight years ago – seriously, some days I can’t even remember how old I am – we’ll go with seven. Anyway, birthdays are big in my family, especially milestone birthdays. My stepmom suggested Five Crowns to celebrate the big 3-0 because…well, I’m not sure why. Maybe because Five Crowns was fancy landmark restaurant plus it was owned by the legendary Lawry’s Restaurants which has an incredible reputation for serving exceptional food. I was excited because I had never been there. But, let me tell you something. Until two weeks ago, that 30th birthday celebration was my first and last time dining at Five Crowns. Bleh!
My experience dining at Five Crowns seven years ago was downright awful. The specifics I remember from the evening were the horrible old English costumes the servers wore, the dreadfully dated interior – including what felt like a miniature dining table and chairs we were seated at, and the food. I ordered a filet “Oscar-style” which is a steak topped with crab meat, asparagus, and béarnaise sauce. I love all of these components but this dish was as dull as the restaurant’s faded green carpet.
Last summer, a friend had been invited to a special Five Crowns Chef’s Supper and raved about how fabulous it was. Meh. I didn’t really have any interest because visions of that horrendous 30th birthday dinner had been burned into my brain. But, when the opportunity to partake in the Chef’s Supper presented itself earlier this month, my friend insisted I come and let Five Crowns create a brand new memory.
The interior of the restaurant has been beautifully refreshed and updated. The walls are light and neutral paired with dark wood beams and a couple of roaring fireplaces. Gone is the hideous carpet and terrible wench costumes. The part of the dining room we dined in on my birthday has since been replaced with SideDoor – an English style gastropub filled with Orange County hipsters the night we visited.
The food? Ah-mazing. I was treated to Executive Chef Greg Harrison’s weekly Friday night Chef’s Supper and – no joke – he slayed it. You can view the evening’s entire 8-course-menu here but first my personal favorites from the evening: the Artichoke Petal, the Tomahawk, and the Beet Braised Pork Ribs.
The Artichoke Petal arrived during the second course with oysters and smoked bone marrow. It was the most familiar of the items during this course. Sunchoke paired with cara cara and celery sat atop an artichoke petal. It was light and delicious and the last one may have been fought over.
The Tomahawk was a show stopper. It arrived on a butcher block with roasted maitake mushrooms, salt crusted potatoes, braised garlic kale (possibly my absolute favorite item of the night), onion foam, and scallion ash. I went back for seconds knowing I still had three more courses until we finished.
The Beet Braised Pork Ribs were exceptionally tender and the sauce was rich. The ribs were served with ricotta cavatelli, baby mixed carrots, and Vadouvan meringue popcorn. The absolute best thing about this dish? It was paired with a tall, cold Beachwood Brewing, Thrillseeker IPA.
My most recent dining experience at Five Crowns has completely wiped clean any memory of that subpar dinner seven years ago. Throughout the entire evening, I kept thinking about how badly I wanted to bring back my husband and our close friends to celebrate his upcoming milestone birthday. I love making memories over good food and drinks, great conversation, beautiful atmosphere, and excellent service. There’s nothing better than that, is there?
3801 E. Coast Highway
Corona del Mar, CA 92625
On occasion, contributors of The Trend Tribe – including myself – receive products, compensation and/or services gratis or at discounted rates. This practice does not influence the contributor’s point of view or the outcome of the review. All descriptions are factual and accurately reflect the reviewers experience. The opinions are of their own. Photos credits: Five Crowns.