Sneak peek: Babette’s makes its West Coast debut
We can hardly wait: Babette’s, the popular East Hampton eatery in New York, is set to open its doors at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 30 at Crystal Cove Shopping Center! The space is stunning, with high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and textured white walls for a pristine but relaxed setting befitting of its coastal locale. But the centerpiece of Babette’s is a gorgeous hard carved walnut wood bar surrounded by slate-blue leather stools. Above it? A dramatic, vaulted atrium sky ceiling.
At the helms of Babette’s craft bar program is none other than renowned bartender Dushan Zaric, of New York’s famed Employees Only (hailed as the World’s Best Cocktail Bar by Tales of the Cocktail in 2011) and Macao Trading Co. Zaric is considered one of the pioneering leaders of the craft cocktail movement and he also starred in the 2013 documentary “Hey Bartender,” about the ever-growing craft cocktail scene. For Babette’s, Zaric has handpicked his O.C. dream bartending team. The fall cocktail menu boasts 16 aperitifs and cocktails. We’re already salivating thinking about the “Can’t Elope,” made with Ford’s Gin, fresh cantaloupe puree, falernum, aperol and garnished with a savory Thai basil and duck proscuitto skewer. We were lucky enough to get a sample of the “Aloha Wahine” (pictured above), made with Clement Mahina Coco, Green Chartreuse, lime and cinnamon. It was balanced, refreshing and tasted like a tropical vacation.
Babette’s will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu reflects Babette’s commitment to locally-sourced produce and sustainable meats and seafood. We can’t wait to try signature items such as the Vaduvan-scented sweet potato gnudi with brussels sprouts and heirloom beans with parmesan and a kale-sage-pumpkin seed gremolata; then there’s the local vegetable tagine with harissa, curried carrot couscous, marcona almonds and preserved meyer lemon yogurt and the kale salad with toasted barley, granny smith apple, olives, poached apricot and lemon-vinaigrette.
Owners Zach and Barbara Layton have created more than just another restaurant with Babette’s — it’s going to be perfect for popping into for your early morning pastries and fresh-pressed juices — to sinking into one of the buttery leather chairs with your laptop or book in the afternoon, to dinner in a relaxed but elegant space with gracious service. We’re not kidding when we tell you we want to live there.
Hours: 6 a.m. daily for takeaway pastries, coffee and juices; Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner will be served Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Visit babettesoc.com to view menus.
Babette’s is located at Crystal Cove Shopping Center at 7962 E. Coast Highway in Newport Coast, 949.715.9915.