400 South Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA, 92651
I was recently invited down to a media event to sample some of the menu items at the new Tommy Bahama in Laguna Beach. The restaurant is set to open on Saturday November 6th, 2010. The goal of this new Tommy Bahama restaurant is to have a more casual, relaxed atmosphere than some of their other restaurants. The gorgeous location, right across the street from the beach, gives it a kick-back surf vibe. The restaurant has been decorated with authentic vintage Laguna Beach items that they tracked down from collectors all over the country. Some of their more interesting items were authentic Laguna Beach rental swimsuits from the early 20th century. Apparently, back in the day, people rented swimsuits when they went to the beach instead of owning their own. Weird...
Shortly after I arrived, I was offered a cocktail and some tray passed Hors d'oeuvres. One was a little piece of toast with goat cheese. The other was these fantastic lobster corn dogs ($14). Tender pieces of sweet, succulent lobster, dipped in sweet corn batter and fried to perfection. They were served with a sriracha mustard and mango ketchup. This was the first time I have ever had a lobster corndog, but I hope it will not be my last. If you are a fan of lobster, you will love these.
After we were seated, we were presented with the following items:
Shrimp Avalon ($14)
Chilled Tiger Shrimp, Dungeness Crab, Spicy Vegetables, Lime, Fresh Made Corn Chips
Ahi Tuna Tacos ($8)
Wonton Shell, Asian Slaw, Wasabi-Lime Infused Avocado
Shrimp BLT ($14)
Nueske’s Applewood Bacon, Romaine, Romas, Avocado, Garlic Aioli, Grilled Sourdough, French Fries
Arctic Char ($22)
Sweet Pea Risotto, Apple Fennel Slaw
Triple Chocolate Cake ($10)
Four Layers, Chocolate Ganache, Mocha Mousse Whipped Cream
Banana Cream Pie ($9)
Almond Crust, White Chocolate Whipped Cream, Toasted Coconut, Caramel, Caramelized Bananas
Root Beer Float ($8)
Abita, Ciao Bella Vanilla, White Chocolate Whipped Cream, Caramel
My three favorite items were the Shrimp Avalon, Ahi Tuna Tacos and the Banana Cream Pie. The Shrimp Avalon was basically a shrimp ceviche that was topped with some dungeness crab meat. It was a light and refreshing way to start a meal. The Ahi Tuna Tacos were delicious. The crispy taco shells were made with fried wonton skins. I thought this was a great idea. The shells were light and crispy but sturdy at the same time.
The desserts at Tommy Bahama are ginormous. These desserts are definitely something you're going to want to share. The slice of chocolate cake was probably over 6 inches high and must have weighed over a pound. It is so rich that you can only eat a few bites before your body goes into chocolate shock. The Banana cream pie was also big enough for at least two people. The crust contained crushed almonds and was a light and flaky vessel to deliver the creamy goodness of the banana cream. The toasted coconut on top enhanced the flavor very well. I liked this dessert so much that I asked to take the "photo model" of this dessert home after everyone took their photos of it.
Overall, Tommy Bahama serves up some darn good food. If that isn't enough to make you want to visit, consider this. Tommy Bahama aims to be very "green." They filter their own water instead of selling bottled water. The water is available in still and sparkling and is available free of charge. Tommy Bahama is also one of the only restaurants around that uses a special machine to turn all food leftovers into compost. They are also committed to serving only sustainable, humanely raised seafood and meat. Locally sourced produce is also used whenever possible. So not only is the food good, but it's food that you can feel good about eating.