(first ever review by this chowhound newbie, be nice)
This new restaurant is located in the newly opened Segerstrom Hall which is right next to the OCPAC in Costa Mesa. Cafe Rouge is a part of the Patina family of restaurants. From what I understand, the Cafe Rouge has only been opened for 2 weeks. We decided to have our pre-theatre dinner there last weekend. For all you theatre-goers, Cafe Rouge has their own valet service right in front of Segerstrom Hall for the same $8 fee as the garaged parking. It was nice just to hop in your car as soon as the show ended. Now on with the food.....
Since we had made early reservations, we decided to go with the 5 course tasting menu (they recommend two hours for service).
The decor itself is very elegant yet comfortable at the same time. The best tables are the ones next to the glass wall facing the OCPAC where you have a nice view of the courtyard and of the people arriving. Sound level was nice.....not too loud, not too quiet.
Service was a little naieve and unpolished overall, but they get a thumbs up for effort and friendliness. Granted its only been a few weeks since their mock dinners, I am sure it will be a matter of time.
Our tasting menu started with a sea urchin brule over tile fish.
To me, it was an interesting combination since I was not used to eating my uni warm with a brule crust. Nice style points though.
Our next item was halibut with butternut squash confit, crispy ham and orange cream. Nice combination of taste and texture...really enjoyed the confit.
Next item was duck breast with dried fruits. Perfectly cooked...juicy and delicious.
Next item was a combo of Japanese and American cuts of beef including a slice of Kobe beef.. nice contrast of two completely types of beef, both cooked medium rare/rare, very good.
Finished with a dessert of several types of creme brulee/cream with a few tea cookies...simple and light, nice way to end a meal.
Wine list is fairly limited and on the pricey side...not too many good choices under $100. Have not had the chance to sample the other menu items but probably will by the end of the season.
There is a a definite asian influence to the menu with a nice balance of entrees.
Dinner for 4 with 2 bottles of Vino came to about $500 inc tip.
Overall, Cafe Rouge fits nicely in the array of restaurants surrounding the the OCPAC complex. It will definitely be a nice addition of our pre-theatre selections along with Mastros and Chat Noir. For such a new restaurant, I though they did an admirable job and we came away happy and content, ready to enjoy our show which we did. Time will tell but I will be back.