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Sea and Be Seen

Jamie Gwen | January 2, 2017 | Feature Features National

The upmarket seafood at the newest dining destination in the Costa Mesa Arts District is making a splash with theatergoers, shoppers and hungry foodies far and wide.
The live local spiny lobster is charcoal-grilled and comes with coleslaw to add acidity to the succulent fish

In a word: spectacular. In more? Impeccable, sensational, outstanding. Water Grill, the new knockout megarestaurant that showcases upmarket seafood dishes from local and sustainable sources, has docked in O.C. Whether you’re sitting at one of two cocktail bars, a table in the main dining room or on the alfresco patio, you’ll cop one of the hottest seats in town.

It’s the brainchild of Sam King (of King’s Fish House fame). He saw an opportunity in the luxe location across from South Coast Plaza that long housed Scott’s. The venue was torn to the ground and has debuted with a gorgeous new look that far outdoes its sister spots of the same name (there are four in total). The swag vibe is evident from the floor to the fixtures. A serene waterscape marks the entrance; reclaimed wood floors adorn the space and imported silverware graces the butcher-block tables. The dining room is spacious and welcomes in streams of sunlight. Then there are the grandiose live seafood tanks that embellish the open kitchenscape. They’re filled with a variety of fresh catch: king crabs, local spiny lobsters, Santa Barbara spot prawns. This is a beautiful build-out, and the attention to detail here is extraordinary.

Yes, this place is serious. So serious that GM Danny Williams interviewed 3,000 prospective employees to narrow down his search to 300, then put them through a rigorous two-month training program to gain hospitality skills and knowledge, which you’ll witness as soon as you take your seat.


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