Covering the dining scene in and around the OC
Locals love to stroll over for lunch or hang out in the lounge to listen to live music, but it’s also been a popular place for those renting homes on Balboa Island for the summer.
As the saying goes, everything old is new again, and new is the watchword at Village Inn. The restaurant has new owners (Daniel and Jessica Miller) who took over a year ago and have been making improvements to the cuisine and ambiance.
They brought in Chef Victor Sandova earlier this year, and he’s remade the menu and added some items that have become extremely popular, including the Village Burger ($12), which starts with 8 ounces of Angus beef and then adds aged cheddar, applewood smoked bacon, arugula, and house spread.
“We’re doing new twists on old classics,” Sandoval told us during our recent dinner at Village Inn. “We’ve got a pot roast that’s become very popular, I have a Portobello mushroom burger which is my take on a veggie burger, we’ve got signature cocktails, I’ve added some unique salads–everything on this menu has been done especially for this restaurant, and it’s been well received by our customers.”
Catherine and I ordered two signature drinks: the Balboa Buzz and the Newport Martini, which were colorful and disappeared fast.
We had the toasted bruschetta ($9), a baked brie salad ($12), goat cheese mashed potatoes ($5), short ribs ($24), and crème brûlée for dessert ($8).
Catherine’s comments: “Since eating at the Village Inn I don’t think I have stopped talking about how amazing the brie salad is. I’m not normally a salad girl, preferring to stick to meat and potatoes, but this salad was perfect. It had a small puff pastry filled with melted brie alongside a leafy green salad with seasonal fruit including strawberries, pineapple and honey dew, plus caramelized walnuts and an orange citrus vinaigrette drizzled on top.
Another notable dish was the goat cheese mashed potatoes, which tasted as good the next day as they did freshly made (there was so much I had to take some home). And the blood orange crème brûlée was a nice twist on what can be a boring dessert. It had a tropical summer taste to it while still showcasing the usual textures and flavors of regular crème brûlée.”
We’ll be writing more about the Village Inn, and our conversation with Chef Sandova, later this summer as we sample more menu items.
For more information, call (949) 675-8300, or visit VIBalboaIsland.com.