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No matter what fish you order at this chain near South Coast Plaza (they're all good but not great), make sure you finish with cheesecake-filled beignets for dessert. Also, have a martini; they're better than average.
Service that isn't lacking... While Mother's Day is special for a plethora of reasons, finding the right place to eat on such an occasion is honestly - the most difficult thing. Every restaurant swears their menu is the best. The brunch always accompanies some form of champagne, because clearly nothing says "Mom" like champagne, but nevertheless the quest for truly exceptional fare is a daunting task. And so this year, I waited too long to choose. I searched far and wide and nobody's brunch menu made me leap with joy so it was down to the few places that still had availability. This led me to Scott's Restaurant & Bar in Costa Mesa. Scott's Restaurant is known for it's Seafood and Steak and the restaurant itself is a very charming place. Nestled across from South Coast Plaza, it is endearing with a simple white entry, a round black iron fountain with black beach stones (It does need to be cleaned - was looking a little algae infested), wooden benches, and then you enter. The staff at the front of the house is utterly amazing, this has to be said. It makes ALL the difference. The manager, Leslie Lynn, saw us and upon realizing I had called to apologize for being so late (we had had a rather unexpected morning - delayed an hour), gave me a big hug and said "Happy Mother's Day" and honestly, it was so appreciated. So then she walked us over to a nice booth where we - my guests: one adult and one 4 year-old, and me - could settle in and enjoy the food, the ambiance, and the incredible service. Before long we were greeted by Ashley. Now I don't always say much about servers because they never really impress but Ashley is the exception. I ordered champagne, and my guests ordered OJ and water. I asked for some bread to be brought over and my little hungry one dug in. I looked to my right and scanned the restaurant. The patio looked like a little haven and the decor, while understated, is really inviting. When I write about a restaurant, I should preface it by saying, aside from one - I do not let them know I'm coming. I think it lessens the experience. Having no idea I was there to review them, the way we were treated, one would assume we were VIP's. The drinks arrived and I looked over the Prix Fixe menu. Now, I'm not always a big fan of this kind of Menu unless I'm in Europe but in all fairness, I was ready to overlook it. The menu was simple: Course One: I ordered Dungeness Crab with cucumber and avocado and my guest ordered Cheese Blintz drizzled in a raspberry sauce. The youngest guest received a plate of fruit sprinkled with coconut. I know fruit is a lovely idea but most kids won't eat coconut. The strawberry was actually bruised. Course One was a bit lackluster. There was maybe a tablespoon of crab in mine and the blintzes were predictable. Course Two: I ordered the Eggs Benedict with Crabcake and my guest ordered the Grilled Salmon, while the littlest guest ordered the Kids Scramble with bacon and potatoes. My Eggs Benedict were ok. Presentation certainly wasn't as high on the list as I'd expected but still, for what it was, it was decent. The salmon was also good, not exceptional. The kids scramble was spot on but the potatoes were really cheesy and not really what it seemed when presented on the menu. So - and here is where they redeem themselves - Ashley came to see how everything was and I asked if there were any roasted potatoes and she said "not today". I asked if there were fries and she went back to talk to the Chef to see what she could do. He found some fries and made them and sent them out. Above and beyond. Almost finished with the meal, a piece of bacon plummeted to the ground and soon enough I was asking Ashley if we could order a side of bacon. They made another exception. Now for Course Three: dessert. Here is what we ordered: Creme Brulee, Chocolate Brick, and Strawberry Shortcake. The "Brick" was overly rich and too closely resembling a "brick". The Creme Brulee was ok, but the Shortcake was a hit. I realize this review doesn't seem favorable but in Scott's defense, Mother's Day Brunch, or any Prix fixe Menu for that matter, is a tough sell (unless you have the allure of a European street - in Europe - or a superb take on what's intriguing). It never quite delivers and borders on a very average, lack of surprise, "ok" menu. HOWEVER, their service and thoughtfulness made it all worth the average meal. Sometimes it's the little things that make the experience memorable. I may not have eaten the greatest Brunch ever but I will give Scott's another try when the menu is not Prix Fixe. So - Scott should thank our server Ashley, Front-of-the-House Dave, and Manager Leslie for making the food's "falling short" almost irrelevant. Almost.
Inspired by the chilly weather we've been experiencing this week here in California, I decided to find a drink with psychologically warming effects, as opposed to the hot toddy's instantaneous comfort... More »
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