For this month’s choices, we have some great meat dishes, as well as a delicious French restaurant.

Our first stop is at Bacchus Bar and Bistro in the Quail Hill Shopping Center, which first opened in 2005. Chef Leo Moran, has worked in Southern California restaurants for over two decades since getting his start at McCormick & Schmick’s, where he made his way up to lead line cook. Moran left McCormick & Schmick’s for Newport Beach’s The Cannery before becoming sous chef at The Winery in Tustin when they first opened. From there he became the executive chef at Bacchus Bar & Bistro. 

Chef Leo believes that an excellent dish truly comes from the understanding of the farmer’s craft. He says that he likes to harness the ability to translate the fruits of their labor into the masterpiece on your plate, and this really comes through in the food he makes. Bacchus Bar & Bistro can be best described as a hip neighborhood bar and bistro with an incredible wine shop that includes over 200 different wines by the bottle and up to 30 beers, including draft brews. There is also live music on specific days. 

“Bacchus Bar & Bistro is the perfect place to relax with friends, coworkers and family and enjoy fantastic wine and delicious food, either for lunch, happy hour or dinner,” says Moran. 

The first dish we’re recommending is the Lamb Lollipops, which comes with mashed potatoes and Napa cabernet reduction. “We source our lamb from New Zealand and butcher the rack in house, imparting a French trimming method to ensure the lamb has a nice presentation. We use some woody herbs with Chiaromonte olive oil to sear the lamb in a really hot pan to give a nice crust on the outside,” says Moran. “Using your hands to eat this one is encouraged because the lamb is literally finger-licking good.” 

We couldn’t agree more about this unique dish! 

Lamb lollipops

The second dish is the filet mignon, which comes with mashed potatoes, wild mushrooms, carrots and Napa cabernet reduction. “Our filet is seared quickly with woody herbs then finished in the oven to give the cut an exact medium rare, which is recommended to ensure optimal flavor,” says Moran. “We let the quality of the steak do the talking and accompany it with fresh seasonal veggies that are sautéed in Chiaromonte olive oil from Apuglia in Italy. The addition of a Napa cabernet reduction brings an overall harmony to the plate.” Filet mignon is definitely available closer, but Bacchus’ dish is so tender that it makes it worth the drive.

The next stop is French restaurant Moulin, on the border of Irvine and Newport Beach, which first opened in September 2014. “Since day one, we’ve been delighting guests with our authentic cuisine and distinct French culture. I was born and raised in Montmartre, Paris, and created Moulin out of love for the French bistro culture I’ve missed since moving to California in the 1980,” says proprietor Laurent Vrignaud. “Since opening, Moulin has seen tremendous support from locals and visitors alike.” 

The first location prompted additional locations in Laguna Beach and San Clemente and soon in Costa Mesa, in addition to two other locations. “Moulin is O.C.’s portal to Paris. From the moment you step inside, Moulin transports you to France with the smell of fresh baked bread, the sight of artisan pastries glistening in the patisserie and fresh chickens turning in the rotisserie, accompanied by the sound of people speaking French.” Says Vrignaud. “It is an all-encompassing French experience unlike anywhere else in the county.”

The first dish worth the drive from L.A. to Irvine is really any of the artisan pastries from their patisserie. “Our French pastry chefs create next-level patisserie items daily, including intricate dessert classics like our mille feuille, tropezienne, or St. Honoré,” says Vrignaud. For those with a sweet tooth, these pastries are definitely worth some time in traffic! The other dish to spotlight is the Croque Madame, which Vrignaud describes as “iconic.” 

“[It] features toasted house-baked bread and generous layers of Béchamel sauce, jambon de Paris, and Emmental cheese. The defining ingredient is a perfect sunny side up egg, complete with a photo-worthy runny yolk,” says Vrignaud. The combination of the fresh-baked bread, cheese and runny yolk makes this a delicious dish definitely worth the drive from L.A. to Irvine!

Tune in next month for two new Irvine restaurants and four brand new dishes worth the drive from L.A. to Irvine!


Bacchus Bar and Bistro, 6735 Quail Hill Parkway, Irvine; (949) 502-4600,

Moulin, 1000 Bristol St. N St. 10, Newport Beach; (949) 474-0920,


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