When the sun dips down behind the water in Huntington Beach, there’s a perfect place to take in the shimmering blue-gold hues as the day fades into night—and it naturally bears the name of the colors that surround it. Yes, that spot is Bluegold, the stellar new restaurant at Pacific City from acclaimed chef Tin Vuong and Jed Sanford. It’s the ninth dining concept in their L.A.-based culinary empire, and the first in O.C. But Vuong is no stranger to our shores: He hails from the beloved Monarch Beach Resort and Sapphire Laguna, and his newest baby is 8,800 square feet of decadence in the form of coastal cuisine (think oysters and sea urchin and New York strip steaks), with a restaurant within a restaurant; a hip, hot vibe; and, of course, an ocean view to live for. The restaurant is a gorgeous build-out with an impressive glassed-in kitchen, and a design that honors the beauty and rusticity of early Spanish missions. You’ll find heavy wood doors, limestone and leather, a trendsetting bar and grand tables for large-party dining. And behind an unmarked door in a corner of the vast space, just next to the wine cellar, you’ll find the chef’s clandestine LSXO, an offshoot of his Little Sister in L.A.—but created specifically for O.C. There are only 28 seats and a homestyle Vietnamese menu with offerings deeply rooted in Vuong’s culinary-focused childhood.
But back to Bluegold. I had the gastronomic pleasure of dining for both lunch and dinner (breakfast is also served), and there’s much to say about Vuong’s global approach to the menu and the vibrant energy that expands from the interior dining room to the exterior patio and beyond.