Having heard mostly good, but some other comments, I decided to venture down to Newport Beach/ Balboa peninsula to find out myself.
Went solo, as I was in the area and didn't want to get back on the freeways yet... Had to call a couple times for directions, it's a very small little hidden treasure!, and the kind person I talked with each time was the GM, David, who is new and comes from Le Cirque in NY.
The food and service were phenomenal!!! Probably the best in So Cal! I requested to sit on the patio in order to order a la carte vs having the dining room's tasting menu only -- and I always prefer outdoor dining anyway... The patio was lovely, four little tables all occupied by what seemed to be regulars. I felt guilty taking up an entire table, but later, David said kindly and very convincingly!, we love single diners!! And they sure executed the best service imaginable.
Was presented an impressive wine list, a delightful ameuse-bouche of gazpacho, with crab and avocado -- a forecast of further exceptional things to come!
Ordered a half bottle of Sancerre and the smoked Malpecque oysters in truffle cream with braised cabbage and fried cracklings..... when asked about my next course, wanted to go straight to the rabbit, but lamented I had ordered the wrong wine. Unbelievably, they offered to give me a complimentary glass to accompany the rabbit! What a magnificent dish -- a roasted loin, a mini rack, and a leg stuffed with foie gras, with a few roasted carrot slices and a heavenly herb-scented jus. The wine was a '99 St-Emilion.
Service could not have possibly been better. If I glanced up, within a few seconds, one of the outstanding, professional staff members was there. Yet totally unintrusive.
An absolutely excellent evening!!