Five Crowns embodies a multi-layered network of history rarely found in any industry, and one that’s becoming harder and harder to come by in the restaurant world. On one end you have its parent, Lawry’s Restaurants, whose humble beginnings go back to the late 1800’s. Then you’ve got the nearly 100-year-old building that gives Five Crowns an ambiance that simply can’t be replicated, with a dizzying maze of dining niches, bars and beautiful yards that remind you that the property was once a private beachside mansion. And of course you’ve got the restaurant’s own timeline, dating back more than 50 years and embodying its namesake on multiple levels—Literally the fifth crown jewel of Lawry’s, conveniently located in Corona Del Mar, or the ‘crown of the sea.’
While Lawry’s in general has taken powerful steps in modernizing its restaurants, the timeless comforts that give a place like Five Crowns its livelihood remain as strong as ever. Dark wood trimmings, old-fashioned lanterns and the London phone booth outside cast a tone of unknown nostalgia, a perfect setup for your first step through the front door, where you’re taken back to a time you never remember experiencing. Walking through Five Crowns feels like a warm blanket has been placed over your shoulders, with fireplaces lining nearly every corner and jovial conversation dancing across seemingly endless pockets of tables. With bedazzled crowns ‘hidden’ along the old-style wallpaper and a canons hanging by chains from the ceiling, as well as a crowd dressing in everything from flip flops to fine suits, the restaurant embodies enough of a Disney ride to make things even more magical.
Five Crowns’ menu is as iconic as its ambiance. The prime rib that made Lawry’s famous is of course a staple here, masterfully prepared with creamy horseradish (not too spicy, don’t worry), succulent au jus and of course Lawry’s seasoned salt and pepper that may blow the minds of those unaware of the origins of the spice they see in the grocery store all the time (“Oh, that’s where it comes from!”). And Yorkshire pudding and mashed potatoes aside, to order the prime rib without creamed corn would be truly sinful.
Items like the beef bone marrow, with a hearty prime rib beef jam on top, showcase that Five Crowns is unquestionably keeping up with the times. Meanwhile, indulgences like rich lobster bisque and a buttery rack of lamb with wilted spinach and mint jelly demonstrate that this place has roots and is sticking to them. With decades of perfecting their craft, Five Crowns is too strong to shy away from their culinary foundation in favor of the next great food trend. This is a place where fans of classic fine dining will breathe easily and enjoy one dreamful bite after another.
While it’s hard to pass on such famous prime rib, you’ll be undoubtedly wowed by the steak. Five Crowns serves a ribeye for the books, finished with an excellent crust and eye-fluttering tenderness. Pair it, or anything on the menu, for that matter, with a fine wine or contemporary cocktail.
Then there’s dessert. That dark chocolate souffle is another piece of time-tested mastery, but the sticky toffee pudding should certainly be ordered alongside. You’ll thank yourself.
Five Crowns is located at 3801 East Coast Hwy, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625. Open 4:30 – 11p Mon – Sat, 4:30 – 10p Sun. Avg. out-the-door price for appetizer, entrée, split dessert and 1 – 2 drinks is ~$130/person. For more information call (949) 760-0331 or visit LawrysOnline.com/Five-Crowns
Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse is your classic friendly neighborhood steakhouse. White tablecloths, plush booths, servers lad in chef whites and fancy dessert carts put Davio’s on somewhat of an endangered species list in this day and age of modern chic, but with 25+ years of history on the east coast, this place is making big bets on comfort, coziness and iconic charm. Those 25 years, however, were built up with steakhouse grade hormone-free cuts, homemade pastas and a menu that brings timeless and new age dishes together.
Davio’s 3,000-mile journey out west brought it to a business park in Irvine, where needless to say they’re killing it on power lunches and business dinners. But the experience goes much further, with corporate clientele coming back dressed down and with families in tow. The newest offering is Davio’s Sunday Brunch, which is picking up steam as a high-end weekend dining destination.
If you’re looking to make your Sunday afternoon fun and fancy, with a feeling of privacy and seclusion, plus the unbelievably rare opportunity to actually make a brunch reservation, you just got a solid go-to with Davio’s. Ridiculous beef tenderloin Benedict and a crab omelet with crab ‘impossibly everywhere’ are just a preview of how this steakhouse takes brunch to the next level, complemented beautifully with a bloody Mary cart complete with fresh bacon, jumbo prawns and virtually anything else you can put in a morning cocktail.
The full Italian steakhouse experience is readily available at brunch as well, with hand-rolled potato gnocchi, fresh lobster rolls and of course an array of classic steak and seafood options. And whatever you’re craving, you owe it to yourself to start with the spring rolls. Far from your typical Far East dish, these variations are stuffed with Philly cheesesteak, Reuben, chicken parmesan and east coast specialties that allow Davio’s to show off its historic roots.
Davio’s did adapt to SoCal quite well in its ambiance, finding a location with tons of natural light and an expansive patio. It makes it that much easier to enjoy another bloody Mary, glass of wine or craft cocktail. Then that dessert cart comes out and the hardest decision of the day is whether to go with the molten chocolate cake or the panna cotta. Make it easy on yourself and just get both.
Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse is located at 18420 Von Karman Ave, Irvine CA 92162. Open 11:30a – 10p Mon/Tue, 11:30a – 11p Wed – Fri, 5p – 12a Sat, 11a – 10p Sun. Avg. out-the-door price for split appetizer, entrée, split dessert and 1 – 2 drinks is ~$85/person. For more information and reservations call (949) 477-4810 or visit Davios.com/Irv.
Once Chef Brian Malarkey’s brain child and now owned by the ever-growing Hakkasan group, Searsucker melds sophisticated flavor profiles with a playful and energetic atmosphere. Chic lighting, chef-centric wall art, a spacious dining room and an upscale menu are certainly a big step up from Munchbar, the late night spot that used to occupy the space.
Even though Chef Malarkey is no longer at the helm, Searsucker continues to showcase a globally inspired menu of upscale renditions on comfort classics. Hovering somewhere in the ecosphere between high-end gastropub and modern steakhouse, Searsucker presents a concentrated yet diverse array of options to satisfy a broad spectrum of palates and budgets…by Vegas standards, at least.
Begin your outing with Searsucker’s award-winning bone marrow, with a buttery richness and bold, flavorful crust that sits perfectly atop the grilled crostinis served alongside. Also worth checking out is the calamari, where Searsucker goes in a great new direction with slices of calamari steak breaded just enough to add texture and drenched in a chili honey glaze.
A number of off-beat steaks (think flat iron) make up a fair portion of the entrees, as does some excellent seafood. The seared diver scallops are perfectly cooked and go very well with the meaty hen of the woods mushrooms served alongside. If you’re really in the mood to indulge, make your way to the ‘family’ section and spring for the 2-pound lobster, a succulent masterpiece in all its glory. Pair it, or anything on the menu for that matter, with the duck fat fries, a mountainous concoction chock full of garlic, parmesan and pancetta.
End your meal with the chocolate croissant bread pudding, or another cocktail from Searsucker’s inventive list. Watch the lines build up at Omnia nightclub right next door. You never know; your evening might just be getting started.
Searsucker is located at Caesar’s Palace, 3570 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109. Open 5 – 11p Sun, Mon, Wed and Thu; 5p – midnight Tue, Fri, Sat. Average out-the-door price for appetizer, entrée, split side and 1-2 drinks is ~$145/person. For more information call (702) 866-1800 or visit SearSucker.com/Las-Vegas.
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.