Covering the dining scene in and around the OC
Dining at a noteworthy restaurant is always a welcome experience, but it’s even better when the owner dines with us.
Such was the case with our recent epicurean experience at Zov’s Neighborhood Café in Newport Coast. Famed OC restaurateur and chef Zov Karamardian took time out of her busy schedule to sit down for lunch with us and discuss her cuisine and career.
In 1987, Zov founded Zov’s Bistro & Bakery in Tustin. Her restaurant – which features a blend of contemporary and Eastern Mediterranean influences – has become a culinary institution, so it’s not surprising that Zov eventually decided to open additional locations in Irvine and Newport Coast (and soon at the John Wayne Airport).
The Newport restaurant has a more casual atmosphere than her more formal flagship location, yet offers many of the same signature dishes that have put Zov’s on the culinary map.
Our lunch with Zov was fun, informative, and very tasty! She led us through a sampling of several dishes from her wonderful menu, including her renowned Mezze platter: a shared appetizer with hummus, baba ganoush, rice-filled grape leaves, spicy sweet walnut dip known as muhammara, tabouleh, and pita bread.
Our entrees included chicken kabob, grilled salmon with sauteed spinach, and whitefish in a white wine sauce laden with pearl cuscus and finely chopped vegetables.
Dessert included The Bomb (a decadent chocolate concoction) and key lime pie with an impossibly fluffy meringue.