Monday, November 29, 2010

Italian favorite expands to Laguna Beach

Dodging raindrops as we dashed back to our car Saturday night, something caught my eye. Did 230 Forest expand recently? Actually, it was a new restaurant. Or perhaps I should say, a new location for an existing trattoria. I am referring to Alessandro Pirozzi's Alessa.

First based in Newport Beach, Yelpers have shown their love by giving it a 4.5 star rating. This merited a second location last summer in nearby Huntington Beach. While many eateries have come and gone in recent months, this South County opening remained under the radar for the most part. Open for only three weeks, it has yet to be listed on their website. They have also dropped the familiar "Cucina" from business cards. However, I hear the award-winning Rolls Royce Margarita is still present.

Brent Omeste, previously the youngest sous chef at Charlie Palmer's in South Coast Plaza, is now executive chef of this establishment. A graduate of Orange Coast College, he began working for Pirozzi at Pomodoro Cucina Italiana at the tender age of 19. Coincidentally, he has also worked for Marc Cohen at Opah.

I wish Chef Omeste and Mr. Pirozzi the best in their new venture. Early reviews are already singing praises.

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