Quintessential California Cuisine
Pelican Grill at The Resort at Pelican Hill
22800 S Pelican Hill Rd | Newport Coast, CA 92657
855-467-6800 | pelicangrillnb.com
ith breathtaking golf course and Pacific ocean views, Pelican Grill, located at The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast, celebrates the coveted California resort-lifestyle.
Year round sunshine allows for the quintessential Southern California alfresco dining experience, and Pelican Grill’s ocean-view terrace provides the perfect setting. Head Chef Marc Johnson and his team offer a Napa-inspired menu for resort guests and locals alike.
When asked what makes a Napa flavor profile, Chef Marc says, “When I think of Napa Valley, fresh and local come to mind.” With only the freshest ingredients coming from two local California farms for Pelican Grill, Chef Marc’s philosophy is to let the product speak for itself. “We don’t want to over complicate things with fifteen ingredients in a dish. We want fresh and full of flavor.”
Pelican Grill’s current weekday special; Burgers, Pizzas & Brews, takes California flavors and incorporates them into local favorites, offering diners their choice of a burger or a pizza and a brew, pairing for only 15 dollars.
Chef Marc recommends his go-to fall lunch, the Short-Rib pizza. “When I think of fall, I also think of braised meats; something a little heartier,” and adding short rib to their notable brick-oven pizzas is a mouthwatering combination you’ll love (The chimichurri is amazing!). Not to mention, a wood-fired oven not only imparts a great flavor into the pizza, but it also speeds up the cooking process, as the oven is kept around seven hundred degrees, in turn, cooking a pizza around four minutes. Pelican Grill shows us that while the busy California lifestyle often calls for a quick meal, that doesn’t mean it has to lack in flavor.
The 1855 Burger is another Pelican Grill favorite, where you can take comfort in knowing where your food comes from. Black Angus cattle is sourced from Nebraska, and when it gets to the Resort, Chef Marc ensures it’s of the highest quality and handled with integrity, “Everything is fresh. Our butchers break it down in-house, and then it is prepared and served, having never been frozen.” Paired with crispy French fries and a local, craft beer of your choice, you might consider calling the Pelican Grill Bar your office for the day. We wouldn’t be surprised if it turned into a weekly occurrence. Now THIS is how you post-golf lunch.
Pelican Grill is both relaxing and scenic, encouraging guests and locals alike to soak in the Southern California lifestyle while indulging in their favorite fall flavors at The Resort at Pelican Hill.
Monday – Thursday (Available in the Bar section only)
Burgers, Pizzas & Brews
Specialty burger or wood fired pizza, paired with your choice of a local craft beer for just 15 dollars.
Q&A With Chef Marc Johnson
Q: How do you define the quintessential Southern California dining experience, and does dining at a Resort add to that experience?
Chef Marc Johnson: The quintessential Southern California dining experience is that we are able to dine outside all year round because of the beautiful weather that we have. For us, we have our huge terrace that overlooks the ocean, so you see beautiful views and perfect weather, and that makes for a great experience.
Most restaurants you go to, you will get great service, but when you go to a restaurant at a resort, you get a higher level of service. We want to please all of our guests, whether they are in-house or locals, you are going to get that five-star service every single time.
Q: You worked at Haven restaurant previously, and now you are in the resort setting, do you see that atmosphere reflected on the line as well?
CMJ: Definitely, working at Haven was a completely different experience. With the Resort you are really getting that top-notch level of service. This is the first resort that I have worked at, but I have really never seen the level of service that we offer everyone. It’s amazing. It goes beyond trying to please everyone.
Q: When guests dine at Pelican Grill, they are given a sample of Napa Valley. Can you share with our readers the specific ingredients and techniques that make this flavor profile notable?
CMJ: When I think of Napa Valley, I think of fresh, local ingredients, and right now we use two local farms that may be ten miles (at the most) away from us. We use Irvine Ranch for certain products and we also use Alegria Farms for certain products as well, so it really is locally sourced. So that’s what I think of when I think of Napa Valley — fresh and local.
Q: If a guest comes into dine, say, during fall, what are some notable go-to-dishes you would recommend for lunch?
CMJ: We will have a kale salad, and I will be getting the kale from Alegria Farms. It is something that is a little heartier; kale is a dense green that stands up pretty well against a lot of ingredients. I would definitely put that as a go-to for lunch in the fall. For lunch, the burger, pizza and brew deal is insane. You can get a burger or a pizza, and a brew for 15 dollars — you can’t get that anywhere! I would probably do a short-rib pizza for lunch, because when I think of fall, I also think of braised meats — something a little heartier.
Q: Aside from the gorgeous views of the Pacific, what else would you pair with your lunch at Pelican Grill?
CMJ: With the burgers, pizzas and brews special, you can do a couple pairings. With the short rib pizza I would pair a Grapefruit Sculpin, because you have the chimichurri on the pizza, which has citrus in it, and it would pair nicely with the citrus of the Sculpin. With the kale salad, we have an extensive wine list to choose from, which would have nice pairings, but I would also pair a nice Scrimshaw.
Q: Can you explain to our readers what an open concept kitchen is, and what are the benefits to the diner for this layout?
CMJ: I have worked in multiple open kitchens, and I think what the benefit to the diner is, is that they get to see exactly what is going on. We have people talk to us all the time on the line.
Q: What is the most notable experience that you’ve had with a guest coming onto the line to have a conversation with you?
CMJ: I don’t think there is one that I can think of because we have people coming up to us all the time, saying things like, “The sea bass was amazing!” I don’t take credit for it because my cooks are the ones cooking it, so it’s great to be able to look around and say, “Hey, that’s the guy that made your food.” It’s great for the chefs as well, because they know that they are doing a good job.
Q: A typical pizza cook-time can run 20 minutes plus, can you explain the pizza baking process at Pelican Grill that makes pizza for lunch totally feasible?
CMJ: One person could eat the pizza, and you would be full — but it is also meant for sharing. Our pizzas are 8 slices and they come in an oval shape. We cut it down the center, and then into 8 different slices from there. Our pizzas are baked in an 800-degree oven, so they are done in around four minutes, making them more accessible during lunch.
Q: Are these specials only available for dine in, or could you do take out as well?
CMJ: For the burgers, pizzas and brews, you cannot do take-out because of the brews, but the pizzas can be. We have people do to-go pizzas all the time. Some people will order them to their room at the Resort, and some locals will even place an order and come pick it up.
Pelican Grill – The Resort at Pelican Hill | 22800 S Pelican Hill Rd | Newport Coast, CA 92657 | 855-467-6800 | pelicangrillnb.com