I’m not the best at describing my dreams.
I can attribute a great deal of that problem to the fact that I forget close to 90% of them by the time I step out of my bed. Although I don’t recall most of my dreams one thing I can easily remember is the way my dreams made me feel. Whether I wake up feeling loved, sad, or angry, the specific feeling that lingers shortly after waking up is extremely easy to recollect. The ability to reference the feeling in dreams tends to be applicable to select instances of experiences in restaurants. While I’m fully awake while dining, there are times where the sentiment of the dinner can be greater than the dinner itself. It may sound odd or even a bit crazy, but that’s only if you’ve never had the chance to eat at Las Brisas in Laguna Beach.
Visiting the restaurant to review their breakfast was possibly the most ideal introduction to what would be the start of a long distance relationship. At a close 70 miles from the city where I reside, Las Brisas is about an hour drive, if my foot sits like a brick on my gas pedal. Walking into the restaurant and taking in the picturesque views of the nearby beach that rested in the background like a painting was a welcoming sight even this late into the evening. With my friend Ajay along for the dinner, we both took a moment to let our breath get taken away from our surroundings. In between polite gasps for air, we managed to let our eyes scan across the dinner menu. Indecisive and struggle to come to a conclusion, the waiter would carry us through the night offering his suggestions and leading us to a few perfect plates. It would only be a matter of moments and our plates would be placed before us.
The first two plates placed on the white cloth table were the appetizers. The one that caught my eye was the Ceviche ($18). The contrasting colors, the arrangement of the ingredients, and the overall appeal of it all was hard to ignore. A basket of tortilla chips and a plate of ceviche would be common at any given restaurant in Los Angeles, however seeing it at a fancy restaurant like Las Brisas made me wonder what style they would add to it, which would explain the price point. Looking at the description of it came the answer: cured sea bass, shrimp, oranges, onions, cucumbers, cilantro, and chili. Not enough of an answer then the taste of it would seal the deal. What made It so easy to consider it remarkable was the seafood. The fresh sea bass and shrimp tasted as if they came from the ocean that sat just outside the window. Combining it with all of the complimentary ingredients made it completely delectable; it was vibrant from start to finish until I realized it was in fact finished.
The second appetizer was a complete contrast to the first. The Nueske’s Bacon ($16) took grilled bacon, red pepper, and chimichurri. In the instant the first bite was made with the bacon there was so much to experience with it. Whether it was the thick cut of the bacon that crackled in the first few moments it was moved around, the hint of spice that gradually arose as the bacon was broken down, or the flirty flavor from the chimichurri, there was so much to what could have been a simple slice of bacon that made it so exciting.
Just as the appetizers disappeared from the table, the entrées filled the empty space. The first plate was the Maple Caramelized Salmon ($36). A charming piece of chili spice crusted wild caught salmon with a maple glaze rested on top of fingerling potatoes with charred vegetables on the side. From the moment I tried the salmon, I knew I loved it. From the sweet decadence within the glaze to the tiny hint of spice that was swept across the salmon it was easy to make it disappear from the table. Adding the potatoes and the vegetables only made the trio a great order to introduce the entrees.
As the plate of salmon was cleared from the table, we made room for the Prime New York Steak ($65 with lobster $20). Almost a behemoth of a meal, the large size of steak with an equally large lobster was nearly too great to be captured in a photo. With salsa quemada, garlic mashed potatoes, charred asparagus, jalapeño garlic compound butter, it was more than everything a person could ask to have for dinner. Bite after bite, the medium steak was indescribably delicious. Rich and juicy, it almost flowed like a waterfall across the tenderest style of meat. Adding the succulent lobster only made it taste even more exciting.
The last of the three entrees was the Lobster Carbonara ($42). It didn’t seem like there would be much space for another plate, but after looking at it, we both made room. It wasn’t difficult to do since the plate both looked and smelled spectacular. The entree was made of linguine, Nueske’s bacon, lobster, egg yolk, toasted ciabatta, Parmesan, and an empty lobster shell for decoration. Twirling the fork to pick up a handful of the linguini with pieces of the lobster and bacon led to a nearly perfect discovery of flavors. The noodles were cooked to perfection which picked up the saltiness from the bacon that swam around the plump lobster. Adding the egg that dripped down the plate only made it all come together like the final piece of a puzzle. Ajay and I both put our forks down glad we decided to make room for the carbonara.
The last of all the food was the dessert. A large slice of New York Cheesecake with Strawberries ($10) sat upright to let all of its glory shine. With a single slice from my fork, it was undeniable how thick the cake was and just how well it balanced being both dense and soft. A full bite from the fork gave way to such a sweet and creamy dessert with a deep and dark chocolatey crust, with fresh fruit that once again, we found space to finish it all.
After having a second meal at Las Brisas, I think it’s necessary to say that the restaurant is one that you’ll continue to dream about, driving you to return for more. From the appetizers to the dessert and each plate in between, La Brisas serves the type of dishes whose food instills a memorable feeling that will stay with you long after the meal has finished.
Address: 361 Cliff Dr. Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Phone: (949) 497-5434
Hours: Sunday to Thursday – 8:00 am to 10:00 pm and Friday & Saturday – 8:00 am to 11:00 pm
Social: Website, Facebook, and Instagram.
- Food tastes great
- Friendly staff
- Beautiful restaurant
- Structure or street parking only