For Wade's birthday dinner, we went to Bello by Sandro in Newport Beach.
We sat at the counter with two other couples and watched the food being prepared. The chef de cuisine is Drew on the right, who served us throughout.
The toasty couple, as taken by the couple next door, who were celebrating their 31st anniversary.
Oyster with confit sungold, fermented strawberry, and indigo bubbles.
Kimberly's favorite: hamachi in a sour apple and ginger liquid, with drops of shishito pepper oil.
Eggplant stracciatella with uni, grapefruit, and hazelnuts.
Scallop fried in shiso and squid ink, sauce of smoked nectarine and fermented yeast.
Wade's favorite: ahi tuna belly wrapped in collard greens, with a sauce Vin Jaune. The saucework throughout was the highlight of the evening.
Octopus skewer with fermented plum and nduja.
Wagyu beef tartare wraped in mustard greens with six-year-old Beemster cheese. Like many courses, you first taste one thing (the greens), then it morphs to another (the beef), and finished with another (the cheese).
Housemade pasta with black truffle in the sauce, and shaved truffle on top.
A fancy olive oil that the chef had us taste a few drops of.
Lamb chop done sous vide to 135 degrees, then charred on the plancha. A "black arrabiatta" sauce made with squid ink, reduced to almost a thick paste. The chop is dipped in this paste and then rolled in edible flowers and roasted peppers.
The final main: wagyu strip with treviso (a mild form of radicchio).
First dessert: passion fruit sorbetto, hops, and mango,
Our dessert drink made with rum and yogurt froth, with orange zest.
Our favorite dessert: gelato with a hint of pineapple and miso, and these candied almonds that were out of this world. Chef said he reduced them in simple syrup until they are almost candied, then throws in a pound of butter to finish.
It looks like an ice cream, but it is really a chocolate cremeaux with maple soy, nori, walnut, and caviar to give it that "salted chocolate" taste, but incredibly rich.