One of the county’s more striking dining transformations of late can be found tucked in a corner of Quail Hill Shopping Center.
There, this 21-and-over establishment has undergone significant renovations, lifted its vision in the kitchen, acquired a spirits license and emerged a more beautiful Bacchus Bar and Bistro.
Owner Danny Choi’s background makes the metamorphosis all the more impressive.
“When I started five years ago, this was my first foray into the restaurant business,” recalls Choi, who has a long and impressive track record as an entrepreneur in real estate and sports marketing. As with his other successful ventures, Choi knew to quickly surround himself with top-notch sommeliers and culinary experts.
New chef Eric Mendoza brings a seasonally driven menu and thoughtful presentations.
Recent highlights included Mary’s Farm chicken-liver mousse with red-wine gelee and pear jam; crispy pork belly with persimmons, miso, Japanese sweet potato and mustard greens; braised beef agnolotti with fried parsnips and charred onions; and pan-seared Scottish salmon with citrus-avocado salad, fennel puree and crispy salmon chip.
A Godiva dark-chocolate espresso martini doubles as cocktail and dessert.
Mendoza and new general manager Tony Ghosn both spent time at vaunted Broadway in Laguna Beach. According to Choi, Ghosn “brought sweeping changes commensurate with fine dining.”
“This is our neighborhood’s gathering place, where friends meet for a meal, glass of wine and live music.” – Danny Choi, Bacchus owner
The sommeliers recently streamlined the wine inventory; by-the-glass options range from Spain’s crisp La Caña Albariño to Napa Valley’s luxe Post & Beam Cabernet Sauvignon. The Tiger’s Eye Old Fashioned with mezcal and smoke is a standout among the cocktails. Beers include Einstok White Ale from Iceland.
Choi admires the center’s own stylish upgrades and appreciates the support of Irvine Company. “They built an outdoor patio for me,” he says. “This is our neighborhood’s gathering place, where friends meet for a meal, glass of wine and live music.”
An array of live entertainment – from singer/songwriter Elaine to classic rock band PointMade to the Art of Sax – continues.