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Perched on the shores of a beautiful artificial lake in Irvine's Woodbridge community, Waters offers a tempered selection of West Coast dishes designed to appeal to the area's affluent residents. With a classy interior heavy on wood paneling and muted, warm lighting, the restaurant provides good food in a cozy atmosphere. Live musicians frequently play during evening service, adding to the cheerful ambience.
The restaurant's biggest draw is its view. Bordered on two sides by a long veranda, and surrounded on all sides by large windows, Waters creates the illusion of fine dining while floating over the mirror-like lake surface. Regardless of the weather, the tables on the veranda are almost always full. At night, lights from the houses ringing the lake reflect off the dark water like captured constellations.
* Lobster Taquitos - Chunks of lobster meat were sautéed with celery, onion, breadcrumbs, and spices before being rolled up in red tortillas and deep fried. The taquitos were then cut on a bias and served with black bean salsa, fresh guacamole, sliced red cabbage, and a drizzle of sour cream. Light and crispy on the outside and meaty on the inside, the taquitos were excellently prepared with only one fatal flaw; the filling was overcooked and much too salty.
* Steamed Manila Clams - A massive helping of fresh clams steamed in a broth made from onion, garlic, basil, white wine, lemon juice, and rough-chopped fresh tomatoes. The clams were served in a large bowl brimming with their steaming liquid. While the clams were plump and juicy, the broth was the true star of the show. Rich and perfectly seasoned, I finished it with the help of a soup spoon after I'd polished off the clams.
* Angel Hair with Lobster - Generous chunks of lobster and tomato were tossed with angel hair pasta and served in a delicate cream sauce made from olive oil, shallots, capers, and white wine. The gentle flavors of the dish were brought together by the rich cream sauce, which soothed the palate without being too heavy.
* Mushroom Dijon Chicken - A double breast of chicken was marinated in Dijon mustard, grilled, covered with sautéed mushrooms and a Dijon cream sauce, and served with a tasty rice pilaf, sautéed carrot strips, and blanched yellow and green haricot verts. Although it was juicy and perfectly grilled, the chicken by itself lacked the flavor a long marinating process would have given it. However, it was excellent with the tangy Dijon cream sauce and earthy sautéed mushrooms. The vegetables and rice were delicious. The rice had completely absorbed the flavors of the butter and chicken stock in which it was cooked. The vegetables were fresh, with just the right crunch and amount of salt.
4615 Barranca Pkwy
Irvine, CA 92604