One on the highlights of staying overnight during Labor Day weekend at Fashion Island Hotel in Newport Beach, was dining under towering trees on the al fresco deck at Oak Grill.
Every Sunday through October, 2019 locals and hotel guests are enjoying an elevated multi-course barbecue dinner by the talented Executive Chef Brittany Valles. She oversees seasonal menus at both Oak Grill and Aqua Lounge inside the hotel. As a strong proponent of using locally produced ingredients, this talented chef utilizes the whole plant or animal for creating bold and bright flavorful dishes.
Earning her Associate of Arts degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Los Angeles, Pasadena, she served as chef de cuisine for seven years with one of LA’s hottest chefs – Michael Voltaggio at ink.well (now-closed). Her skills gained a prestigious nomination for Star Chefs’ Rising Star Chef in 2017 and she was the named “Sandwich Queen” in an episode on munchies on Chef’s Night Out.
On Sunday’s the bar makes a Hometown Punch for $10. It’s a blend of Old Forester signature 100 proof, housemade oleo-saccharum syrup, water, and fresh lemon juice. They also make a “Smoked James Dean” that has become an Instagram favorite. It arrives in a glass case, and once the door opens, your senses are awakened with pleasing aromas surrounding your table.
Three of us dined on a Sunday night, so two of us ordered the special Slow Smoked Sundaze BBQ special, while our daughter ordered the Tuna Poke served with Taro Chips.
On the menu each guest receives a flavorful cheddar cheese biscuit with a side of fresno chili jelly and garlic herb butter, as well as a few house-made seasonal pickles. A bread basket also arrived with three different types of elevated bread: pretzel, olive and country rolls.
Next our friendly server Mike brought to our table a smoked salmon deviled egg, near a clear bowl holding a watermelon salad sprinkled with feta cheese, sorrel, basil and a squeeze of lemon. Both were delicious. Also on the plate was a pleasing fried green tomato topped with burrata, chopped country ham, and a herb chipotle aioli.
For our entrees we had a choice of two proteins that are served with Texas & Carolina style bbq sauce. My husband ordered the smoked chicken, cedar plank atlantic salmon, while I ordered the tender and flavorful bbq brisket and salmon.
Our plate with two proteins arrived with a choice of three sides that included roasted corn & barley salad, carrot slaw with poppy seeds and dried cranberries, heirloom potato salad dressed in a champagne-mustard vinaigrette with red onion, fennel, and celery.
This dinner special culminates with a choice of grilled peach melba on top of almond cake, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and side of raspberry coulis to pour on top, and an apple pie à la mode made with cinnamon spiced apples, and served with a scoop of caramel ice cream on top. We ordered one of each and thought the peach melba dessert was a quintessential Summer treat.
This multi-course summer bbq dinner at Oak Grill is $45 per adult and $17 per child 5 – 12.
Walking back to our room, we stepped out on our balcony just before 10 p.m., and watched fireworks illuminate the sky from Disneyland in the distance.
Staying in the spacious corner room number 1408, there is a large living area with a queen size sleeper sofa, and double doors leading into a premium king-sized bed and oversized marble bathroom with a full size bathtub, separate shower and plush, oversized bath towels and white bathrobes.
This room offers two step-out balconies, one with two chairs and a table overlooking the Newport Beach Country Club golf course.
Guests staying at the stylish Orange County resort can renew, repair and rejuvenate during their vacation by upgrading to the Island Club up on the 20th floor. Enter with your key card into a comfortable lounge offering various flat screen televisions, dining tables, iMac computer work area, a variety of nerwspapers, and a wall of windows looking out to the Fashion Island Shopping and Entertainment Center, Balboa Island and Pacific Ocean beyond. Step-out onto one of the balconies, for the best coastal view in all of Orange County.
Benefits include a full enhanced Continental-style breakfast with hot and cold items. Later in the afternoon snacks and beverages are offered before “Wine Down” hour at sunset offering five different wines, beers, sodas, hot and cold hors d’oeuvres and desserts.