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Orange County’s Next Big Luxury Restaurant Embraces Wagyu Steak and Beijing Duck

Plus, former Hatchet Hall chef Wes Whitsell’s next move, street vendor robberies, and more

A side view rendering of an upscale restaurant dining room with dim lights and dark wood.
A rendering for the forthcoming Set Steak & Sushi at the Pendry hotel in Newport Beach.
The Pendry
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

There are big plans for Newport Beach in the coming months, as higher-end hotel the Pendry prepares to debut in the early fall at the well-known Fashion Island development near the coast. While the sandy-toned hotel will certainly make sense for travelers visiting Orange County, locals are already eyeballing the incoming ground-floor restaurant Set Steak & Sushi.

The sprawling upscale menu will feature an array of specialty sushi rolls plus a whole lobster tempura and bluefin tuna pizza as appetizers, though the luxury touches are likely going to be in high demand here. There’s a $125 caviar and blini stater, big plates of Beijing duck, dry-aged steaks and even wagyu offerings for those who need beef. Expect an opening by late September or early October.

A familiar face returns

Chef Wes Whitsell, who took Culver City restaurant Hatchet Hall to its first Michelin star before departing in April, has found his next project. Whitsell will oversee the restaurant Irie at upcoming cannabis consumption lounge PleasureMed in West Hollywood. The restaurant at 7715 Santa Monica Boulevard should have around 135 seats when completed, with Whitsell and company tracking toward an October opening.

A big closure to know

Phantom Ales in Anaheim has closed, with its final day of service August 19. “Sometimes you turn the page, and it’s the last page left to turn,” ownership said in a social media post earlier this month. “Thank you all for making these past 16 years fly by.”

Scary scenes for street vendors

Gunmen reportedly made off with hundreds of dollars in cash after robbing six different taco trucks and stands at gunpoint last week, reports the Los Angeles Times. The robberies moved from the Westlake area north through Hollywood and beyond, beginning at 9:40 p.m., according to LAPD investigators.

Memories of Maui

The Los Angeles Times also spent a few hours at Back Home in Lahaina in Carson. The casual Hawaiian restaurant has been a gathering point for people with connections to Maui for years, and now the busy restaurant has become a place to eat, remember, and mourn the recent fires.

Help in Chinatown

Sesame LA is looking to expand beyond its 250-square-foot home in Chinatown. To do so, ownership is partnering with NuMarket to raise money collectively, with customers who buy in to help underwrite the opening able to use that fronted money for special perks and benefits. So far Sesame has raised over $3,500.