This little dining blog will cover a lot of places in Newport Beach and New York City over the years, because those are the two cities I dine in the most. The majority of Friday nights I find myself on a date with my wife, Joleen, and I may as well tell you what I think about the places we frequent in Newport Beach. The idea that I would take her to a place I know to be sub-par is not very likely, so chances are that our date night selections are either places we have not yet been (there are virtually none of those left in Newport) or a place we know we like. Such is the case with The Cannery – a staple in Newport Beach and a vital part of the dining scene in our city.
The ambiance and location of The Cannery would buy it a lot of food forgiveness if it needed it (which it doesn’t). Nostalgically speaking, it is right down the boardwalk from the spot my office was in many years ago. It sits on the water in the Cannery Village, a rock throw from Lido Island, and is laid out brilliantly for a restaurant (large bar upstairs, several lounge rooms, upstairs patio dining above the water, large patio dining downstairs on the water, and good sized dining room). It is a joy to just be there.
They are, above all else, a seafood restaurant. Yes, the rack of lamb is fantastic. Yes, the steak selections are good. And yes, if you are sitting in the bar having sushi, you could do much, much worse. But they are a seafood and fish bonanza, and to start with the Mexican White Shrimp Cocktail on dry ice is a good idea. The habanero cocktail sauce could use a little more eat, but the flavors are delightful and the shrimp is just perfect.
My course was the special last night, and I ordered well. A black cod prepared in a honey-mustard marinade, then served on a potato risotto. I can only say that this is Cannery’s bright spot – unique, creative, and flavor-bursting combinations with the freshest of fish in the southland.
Joleen went king crab legs last night, and it should be pointed out that they were over-cooked, dry, and over-garliced … I didn’t complain about the excessive garlic (I often eat 50-75% of my wife’s dinner), but they were having a bad crab night.
I have had a lot of fun at The Cannery over the years, and can assure you I will have a lot of fun there in years to come. There are many gems in Newport (how many OC cities can say that), and The Cannery is one of them.