|Javier's Cantina & Grill|
@ the Crystal Cove Promenade
7832 E Pacific Coast Hwy
Newport Beach, CA 92657
The Internet has been abuzz lately with people searching Yahoo! and Google for information on "Javier's Crystal Cove Promenade" or "Javier's Cantina & Grill at Crystal Cove Promenade" in Newport Beach (Newport Coast area) and this is the place to come for such information (keep scrolling down and you'll see what I mean). When I drove by the construction site on January 26 somebody there told me that it'd be opening up on February 9. Of course that is subject to change but that is the best information we have right now. (Don't get Crystal Cove confused with Crystal Court at South Coast Plaza. Also, it's not Crystal Grove or Crystal Cover as some people have been searching for.)
Here's two pictures from the construction site:
This entry will be updated as we get more information on the opening and after I make a visit there at the restaurant and try the food.
UPDATEToday (February 9) is opening day and I stopped by for lunch but found out they won't open until dinner tonight so I made reservations for later today. They then let me take a few pictures of their beautiful property, which more closely follows the visual theme and decor of their Irvine location than their old Laguna location:
After the Dinner (The Grand Opening)
I don't think I need to report on what Javier's was like once it finally opened up because I'm pretty sure every person in Orange County was there. What a madhouse it was. Anyways, Joy and Carter met me for dinner there and it was a good thing I had made reservations earlier in the day. I heard some people arriving off the street and being told there was a three hour wait.
We started out with the queso fundido which was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Actually, it was so thick you had to cut it with a knife:
Unlike queso fundido I've had before this kind came with warm corn tortillas to scoop it into. It was pretty good with the mushrooms and olives but we didn't notice the chorizo that the menu said would be in it.
I can't remember exactly what Joy got but I believe it was a lobster quesadilla which she said she enjoyed:
While Carter got the carnitas platter:
(As you can tell the lighting was very dim.) I went for the "Cabo Azul" which is basically a Mexican seafood extravaganza comprised of a lobster enchilada topped with a chili verde sauce, a shrimp chili relleno, and a fish taco, with my favorite being the fish taco:
I finished up with the flan for dessert:
I keep waiting for Javier's to come up with a snazzier presentation for its flan but food quality is even more important than presentation and on that account Javier's flan scores pretty high.
Considering the extreme hecticness of the evening the wait staff did an admirable job of handling the crowd (now that I think about it the crowd must've also included every person from Los Angeles County). I'm planning on going back when things simmer down a little bit to get some better quality pictures of their food in the daylight.
I should also mention that this location has the sort of high class restroom that has a full-time attendant who dispenses your hand soap for you and hands you towels when you're done washing your hands, and an array of breath mints and other niceties and accoutrements the likes of which I haven't seen yet during my experience writing this blog. I'm going to have to remember to tip for the giant Lifesaver I helped myself to on the way out when I go back for my next visit to Javier's. Of course, I have no idea how the women's restroom is run.
See the complete photo album with more and bigger and better quality photos at flickr. You can also View it as a slideshow (best option)
Apparently people are so taken by the design of this new restaurant that a lot of people are now searching on "javier's crystal cove designer." If anybody knows who the designer was please leave a comment.
CLICK HERE to read all our extensive Javier's Cantina coverage including information on their old location, this new location (that you just read about), their other location that is still open, and their location at a Mexican resort (includes a couple dozen photos). After that you can check out their official site (which, oddly enough, has less information than this site does . . . but is still worth checking out). UPDATE: Their official site does have a little bit more information on it now.
I have to add that the overwhelming consensus I get on this place is that you go for the atmosphere, not the food. I actually think the food is fine and the servers I've had have all done a good job but the management is very snooty and has repeatedly ignored all requests for information, and I've been told they've said they think they are too good to talk to food bloggers, thereby earning them a Slowpoke Rodriguez:
If you are more concerned about getting upscale Mexican food from a place that is similar to Javier's but more about the food (but still has a great atmosphere) consider checking out Taleo in Irvine.