Lucky you, Laguna Niguel—you landed a winner. From the talent behind The Deck and Driftwood Kitchen in Laguna Beach comes Hendrix, a swag, hip and scrumptious neighborhood hot spot. It’s a gorgeous build-out with a scene-stealing rotisserie packed with whole chickens and rolled porchettas, a melting pot of flavors on the menu and a wine shop to boot. It’s local, seasonally driven and luscious. And there’s apple strudel.
Inside, you’ll feel a sense of place, where wine country meets the water. It’s casual yet confident, with a bustling bar, tables by the window with a peekaboo ocean view and a private dining room in the works. Simple, honest flavors fill the menu, from the daily fresh catch to fire-roasted meats, including an impressive 20-ounce bone-in rib-eye steak. The wine list is funky-cool and filled with family-owned miscellanies, and it’s totally Laguna.
Here’s how to do this night right: Park and find the big door (it’s really big); you’ll be warmly welcomed inside. A lounge area off the entrance will offer you a casual seat to sip and linger, but first peruse the wine shelves for a bottle of your choice. Maybe you’ll run into a friend or two, make casual convo; then you’ll be escorted to your dining table, past cocktail high-boys and a family-style table that will entice you for another visit.
I suggest you start with the signature liquid libation—a Perfect G+T, made with Hendrick’s Gin and Fever-Tree premium tonic. It’s beautifully garnished with edible flowers and lovely slices of now tipsy cucumbers, with a few juniper berries tossed into the mix. It’s a charming and refreshing start to what is yet to come.
Then meet Pete, the general manager, or share a smile with chef Rainer Schwarz and managing partner John Nye, and dig into an order of roti chicken and San Daniele prosciutto fritters. The honey aioli will tease your taste buds, and the creamy, crunchy fritters are so delicous. Now that’s a good beginning. Sit back, relax, feel the ocean breeze—and begin the gluttony.