I’m not afraid to drive far for good food, and when I live in between LA and OC good food isn’t hard to come by. However, there are too many places on my ever growing list, especially when it comes to newer openings. I am a huge fan of Arc in Costa Mesa, so when I heard that the owners were opening a modern-day diner right next door, I was counting down the days until they opened. I was lucky enough to try Restaurant Marin for an early Mother’s Day lunch with my parents a few weeks in to their opening. Read on for the many highlights:
First off, this place is teeny tiny in the best way possible. The decor is clean and modern while still evoking the cozy diner feel. Breakfast is served all day, but they also offer unique Lunch and Dinner menus. They have a no-tipping policy, but hospitality is included in their pricing, which is on the higher end. Don’t let that deter you. The service is personable and top-notch and the quality and portion sizes of the dishes won’t make you think twice when the bill comes. Now, for the most important part, THE FOOD.
First of all, you can order this breakfast sandwich at all hours (7AM-12AM) since breakfast is served all day. Appropriately names, The Muffin, this breakfast sandwich is a force to be reckoned with. A fried egg, aged cheddar, heaps of shaved bacon, and spinach are served in between a freshly baked muffin bun. If you are a follower of the blog, you know that I am a breakfast sandwich addict and aficionado, and I have to overwrite any previous statements that I have made about having had the perfect breakfast sandwich. This tops them all. Even better, you can remove the top muffin and ask for a side of fresh jam and save that for ‘dessert.’ Worth it.
I ordered the Fried Chicken sandwich filled with warm brie, peppers, red cabbage, and fried lemon. The chicken was perfectly crunchy, not overwhelming in size, and the juiciest chicken I have ever had. Seriously. It will be difficult not to order this again and again.
On the healthier side (since this picture doesn’t do the sizable portion justice), this Grilled Steak salad was heavenly. Served with farro, arugula, blue cheese, roasted sweet peppers, parmesan, and flavorful grilled steak, this dish was also a winner. They also have 4 other salads on their lunch menu, one of which is protein-less for any vegetarian friends you may have.
Did you really think we were going to leave without having dessert? Our table happened to be very close to the counter where they display some of the cakes and pies that they are serving that day, so it was inevitable that we were going to indulge. After careful consideration, we settled on the Apple Pie. It was served hot with fresh whipped cream and was packed with sweet apples and cinnamon. The crust to filling ratio was spot on. We were unable to finish the whole pie between the 3 of us.
Before we left, we made reservations for an early Father’s Day dinner in June, because their dinner menu looks just as amazing, if not better, than their lunch and breakfast options. Let me reiterate, for some, the prices come with a bit of sticker shock to those expecting a ‘diner’ experience, but if you are level-headed and appreciate UH-MAZING, fresh, carefully crafted dishes, you won’t bat an eyelash at the bill. Soon, this will be a difficult reservation to nail down, I feel it. Go now, before the masses discover the experience that Chef Noah Blom and his wife, Marin, have created.
For more information, visit http://www.restaurantmarin.com/.