Newport Beach Restaurant Week is still going on, and that means I’m still dining up a storm. For today’s Restaurant Week lunch, we took a drive down the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway to the Rusty Pelican.
The Rusty Pelican is a large (300 seat capacity) fine-dining seafood restaurant located on the Newport Harbor waterfront. They specialize in daily fresh seafood. The restaurant is owned by Landry’s. The name may not sound familiar, but I’m sure you’ve dined at some of Landry’s restaurants. They include Claim Jumper, Morton’s, Rainforest Cafe, and the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company just to name a few.
The Rusty Pelican gets its name from, you guess it, a rusty pelican. There’s quite a few of them scattered throughout the outside of the restaurant, and on the roof. They range in size from a normal pelican to Big Bird from Sesame Street. Sally would have loved it.
Normally, Restaurant Week promotions are prix-fixe meals consisting of three courses. However, some restaurants are not able to do three courses for the $20 lunch price. The Rusty Pelican is one of them (they do three courses for the $40 dinner menu). A two-course lunch really isn’t that bad since the last course is always a dessert, and I rarely have dessert with lunch.
We decided to make our lunch a Dot Com three-course by ordering up a dozen oysters on the half shell. Unlike the Cannery, the Pelican didn’t forget the order. It was delicious, and a great opening for the unforgettable appetizers.
The Unforgettable Appetizers
We had a nice selection of appetizers to sample, and all of them were amazing. I was especially impressed with the Ichiban Skewers of fresh fish that were marinated and chargrilled. It literally melted in your mouth. The steak cut calamari Fritti with chili ancho sauce was the best calamari I’ve ever tasted, and the Cajun shrimp had a nice strong kick to it.
It’s All About The Fish
The Rusty Pelican is all about their fresh fish. In the spirit of showcasing the quality of their fish, the Restaurant Week menu features either Salmon, Mahi Mahi, or Trout that are simply seasoned and grilled to perfection. The fish is paired with seasonal vegetables and a light lemon herb sauce. Nothing fancy. Just great looking dishes that tasted even better.
If you like the grilled Mahi Mahi (pictured above), you will love the Spicy Orange Ginger Glaze Mahi Mahi with jasmine rice (pictured below). It added a whole other dimension to the dish.
Overall, the Rusty Pelican was the best seafood restaurant I’ve ever dined at in Newport Beach, and my favorite of all the Restaurant Week restaurants I’ve dined at so far. I look forward to going there for dinner.