I'm envisioning a couple semi-special occasion dinners with an out-of-town guest at either Opah or Houstons in Irvine, or Gulfstream or Bandera in Newport Beach. I have selected these four places because they appear to have a good general selection of different foods for a middle-of-the-road American palate -- the exact palate possessed by my guest.
I have been once to Gulfstream, but never to any of the other three restaurants, nor do I have any firsthand stories from friends. I have read of many pros and cons of all. Gulfstream I remember as rather expensive, extremely loud, and overly Newport scene-y. So maybe I'll eliminate that from the running. My guest is from a part of the world where he enjoys excellent food of high quality served to him at reasonable prices with no "scene" or BS in in all manner of upscale venues, and I do not wish to disappoint him when he is here in OC. (That part of the world is New Jersey.)
Can anyone recommend for or against any of these places, or provide any other useful information?
Or perhaps someone can suggest a similarly American-ish place that will be appropriate -- but not more expensive, please! From the looks of their menus online, they are already expensive enough. These dinners will be on weekdays, so please don't send me on the 405 -- we'll not be straying far from Irvine, preferably right in Irvine or Corona del Mar.