3801 E. Coast Highway
Corona Del Mar, CA 92625
Recently I was lucky enough to be invited for the fall menu tasting at Five Crown in Corona Del Mar. This was a limited seating event and sure to be a night filled with good food. I was excited and nervous at the same. If you have been reading PKE you will notice this is not my typical food to review. So I was hopeful to try food items I have never tried before.
When you first walk into Five Crown it kind of reminds you of a English style pub. The lighting was dim, the people chatting and the hostesses were friendly. After a few minutes of waiting, we were directed up stairs to the Speak Easy for a few cocktails and appetizers. The drink of the night was the crown jewel, it was a very well made drink which included sage infused vodka. There were a few different options for appetizers and I started with the avocado smash on a pita chip. The avocado was very smooth and creamy while the pita had a nice crunch. Then the oysters came around, this is my first of the night, I have never had oysters before and almost passed on them. But I went for it; and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I actually enjoyed it. The oyster it self was sweet and full of fresh ocean flavor. The green onions added some brightness to the oyster that really helped make it a composed bite.
After the appetizers were completed we headed back downstairs to the green room. This room was amazingly well decorated and reminded me of something I would have seen in a movie. The tables were all laid out in neat order and everyone had a place card for their seat. Upon sitting down there was a copy of the tasting menu we would be enjoying tonight.
First course was butternut squash soup with maple glazed pancetta. This was my second first of the night, because I had tried butternut squash alone, so I was hoping that I would like it. Since I have no past experience with this I can say this was the best butternut squash soup I have ever had. The soup was silky from the butter that was added at the end of the cooking process. The crispy pancetta added texture and the maple glaze brought in sweetness and hints of flavors we are all used to enjoying.
The second course was Mediterranean sea bass with shrimp, cauliflower florets, caper brown butter and chervil. Yes, another first for me. I am not big a fan of seafood in general anyway, and the sea bass was new to me, and believe it or not the cauliflower was too. The sea bass it self was tender and moist with a crisp skin. The cauliflower was very good, it was roasted slightly and full of flavor from the brown butter sauce. The shrimp was tender and sweet. While both the proteins on the best were well executed I have to say my favorite on this plate was the cauliflower.
The third course was fall lasagna with house-made pasta, braised kale, mushrooms, arugula and parmigiano. The top of this lasagna was golden brown, the pasta was tender and the mushrooms were plump. The sauce that accompanied the lasagna added a good amount of moisture without the dish getting watered down. The cheese was sharp and salty which helped to cut through some of the flavors. Another dish that you could taste the pride these chefs took in their ingredients and they were cooked amazingly well.
The fourth course was deckle steak, sweet potato coins, haricot vert and herb butter. If you are not sure what a deckle steak is, it comes from the cap of a rib eye steak. This cut of meat was fatty and full of flavor. The tender beef gave way with few stokes of the knife. The herb and salt rub on the outside of the deckle steak was crusted and seared nicely. The temperature of the beef was a nice medium which kept it juicy. The haricot vert were toothsome and buttery. This was by far the star of the meal. If I could have I would have eaten more of this but since it was only a tasting, my portion would have to do. However I will have to go back to Five Crowns for this steak.
The last course was a dessert course which was warm apple crumble with Straus vanilla ice cream. The apple crumble was thinly sliced apples with some blueberries mixed in. The crumble topping was reminiscent of a granola. The crispy outside gave way to tender apples and blueberries that burst with flavor. The ice cream brought richness and a cooling to the warm dish. It was a flavor profile that brought back memories of my grandmother cooking desserts, by hand, during our holidays events when I was child.
I left Five Crowns saying to myself and the other guests how impressed I was with the entire event. I had a a lot of firsts for me when it comes to food and certainly hope to continue this trend. The quality of food was above what I was expecting. The flavors in each dish truly did remind me of the fall season. The event staff and the rest of the employees I had encountered were very helpful and polite. I now know that I must return to Five Crowns and see what other treats they have on the menu.