Beechwood had basically vanished from local foot paths and bike trails, that is, until a new chef hit town winning 1.5 stars. SIV writes, "She's Jamie Lauren, yet another 'Top Chef' alum, who was, until recently, chef at San Francisco's Absinthe Brasserie & Bar.... she seems like a good fit with Beechwood's laid-back vibe and beachy crowd. On the job since October, she's retooled the contemporary American restaurant to function more as a gastropub." SIV commends the appetizers by saying, "...don't pass up the killer mac and cheese that comes, oddly enough, with tater tots on the side, all buttery and crisp." SIV clearly states where Jamie Lauren's strengths lie: "Lauren's cooking comes into focus with her main courses. This is one of the few restaurant menus in which the main courses beat out the appetizers — and by a lot. Tops on my list is her Devil's Gulch pork confit with slow-cooked collard greens brightened with a splash of vinegar and fat brown beans, a wondrously earthy melding of flavors. Kobe beef cheeks make another sumptuous braised dish, the rich beef tickled with curry spices and served with smoked sweet potatoes and sautéed heirloom spinach...portions are big, favoring the hearty over fussiness or finesse."
SIV even goes so far as to comment on the quality of the staff, deciding that "The service is much more professional as well. Servers with hair pulled back like ballerinas remain unflappable in the noise and the crowd, remembering extra wineglasses, more spoons, all the details. You won't see customers waving their arms frantically hoping a waiter will notice, which is a big change from the past." [LAT]
The Elsewhere: The Find visits Habuya in Tustin, Eastside Food Bites dines at Four Cafe, Diana Takes A Bite at Le Saint Amour, My Last Bite picks Firenze Osteria, Sinosoul chooses Cafe Pinot, Caroline on Crack checks out Harvard & Stone, and ShopEatSleep samples Fresheast.