Off the Menu OC

Covering the dining scene in and around the OC

A “Tabu” Dinner Leads to Comedy at Laguna Playhouse

Grilled scallops

Grilled scallops

Our home-base may be Newport Beach, but we love making the short drive down the coast to Laguna Beach, which has an impressive array of restaurants.

The town also has The Laguna Playhouse, an intimate 420 seat theater with professionally-produced plays.

We recently attended the opening night of “All the Great Books (abridged),” a fast-paced comedy presented by the Reduced Shakespeare Company that took the top 80+ books ever written and condensed them into a 98 minute theatrical roller coaster ride.

Prior to the play, we were invited to dine at the renowned Tabu Grill and sample several menu items.

Tabu is several miles south on Coast Highway from the Laguna Playhouse, but well worth the short drive. Once inside the cozy restaurant, we sat at the counter overlooking the kitchen so we could watch Chef Rayne Frey in action. We were amazed at the beautiful dishes that came out of the tiny Tabu kitchen.

After perusing the menu and aware of our time constraints (we did not want to miss the start of the show), we decided to order three

Pork Belly

Pork Belly

dishes from the Small Plates section of the menu.

“I recommend the grilled New England scallops,” said Catherine. “They have an almost meat-like quality to them with a good amount of smoky and grilled flavor. They’re served in a sweet yet tangy tangerine beurre blanc with a potato puree and citrus salad.”

“The Snake River Farms braised pork belly was melt in your mouth good,” she added. “The pork belly was tender, with smoked onion and pomegranate pork jus. The meat was complemented by a sweet roasted butternut squash mash and red cabbage sauerkraut. I also liked the prime boneless short rib with roasted pineapple barbecue sauce.”

Tabu’s short-but-mighty list of entrees includes filet mignon, prime ribeye, Mero sea bass, and several other enticing items. We vowed to return soon to try more dishes, including dessert, and headed to the theater.

Reduced Shakespeare Company

Reduced Shakespeare Company

Tabu is a 10 minute drive from Laguna Playhouse, so we made it in time to have a glass of champagne before the show, which we found to be clever, silly, witty, and very funny.

“I thought ‘Great Books’ was done with just the right amount of humor, intelligence and good acting,” said Catherine.

“I agree, it’s a smart play, and one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in a long time,” Christopher added.

“The actors did a great job at improvisation and engaging the audience as they acted out the best parts of a multitude of books,” noted Catherine. “Another perfect night of dining and theater.”

For tickets to “All the Great Books,” which runs through March 30, visit

For information on Tabu, visit

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