June 25th, 2012, 9:09 am · · posted by KELLI SKYE FADROSKI, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
It’s a terrific drinking town, populated with an assortment of odd but warmly inviting neighborhood drinking establishments.
I was taken to one such establishment in a residential neighborhood during a long weekend attached to the wedding of a softball teammate. Like many Chicago bars, the building was long and narrow. I don’t know why so many bars in Chicago are long and narrow, but in at least one, it accommodated two bowling lanes inside the bar. I don’t recall the food being extraordinary at that place, but I will never forget how the wall shook whenever a bowling ball crashed into a set of bowling pins. I also will remember the hearty drinks.
I recently was drinking and dining at the eight-month-old Three Seventy Common in Laguna Beach, and I was reminded of that night in Chicago.
No, Three Seventy Common does not have a bowling alley. But it does have an interesting mix of hearty drinks, and the food, unlike its Chicago counterpart, is spectacularly original. There was another reason besides the drinks that reminded me of Chicago.
The building, which formerly housed the Sorrento Grille, is long and narrow. I’m a professional observer. I notice these things.
There was a real nice Chicago vibe to the restaurant, only with better food and an ocean breeze.
I’ll take amazing food over bowling alleys anytime and, frankly, chef/owner Ryan Adams had me at pretzel nuggets.
Instead of automatically sending a basket of bread to the table, Adams comes up with a different treat each night, and on this night, it was a plate of delicious pretzel bits, accompanied by spicy mustard that tasted homemade.
The menu is eclectic, with a broccolini salad and a bone marrow appetizer mingling freely with scallops, skirt steak and Shepherds Pie. For the meat lover, there is an appropriately named “10 Napkin Burger” that comes with awesome fries. The shellfish admirer should not miss the clams.
Regrettably, Adams doesn’t offer happy hour discounts, but if you are lucky enough to work in the hospitality industry (hotels, restaurants, etc.), there is 25 percent price reduction offered seven days a week. There were a few local competitors taking advantage of the discount on the night I was there.
By the way, you might be wondering about the name of the place. Adams wanted to call his new restaurant Common Table, but was informed that an out-of-state restaurant group owned the name. The “Three” and the “Seventy” refer to the address of the restaurant on Glenneyre Street.
Photos and article by Barry Koltnow, the Orange County Register.
The latest from Encore: