Meet and Greet

By Debbie Lavdas

Meet and Greet
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Not business as usual: Meet 370 Common Kitchen + Drink

Have you hit this new Laguna Beach hot spot? It’s new in town, owned by Chef Ryan Adams and is a great, laid-back, approachable eatery for a client dinner. There is also a private dining space in their upstairs Whiskey Room for up to 8 guests. I met up with Chef Ryan to get to know 370 Common firsthand, sample the cuisine and OC Metro report-back. Ryan told me his 370 Common is a gathering spot that’s attracting a lot of restaurant-types. “Where the chefs eat, the people eat.” I think clients will appreciate the unpretentious nature of the place and the reasonable pricing. In this economical age, it’s not always wise to lavishly wine and dine. Out-of-town clients will particularly appreciate the “insider” factor of the place; where the locals go to enjoy great cuisine and hang out, and its downtown Laguna Beach location is perfect. What’s even more attractive for a business dinner or client drinks is that it’s a place you can go and let your guard down. Postures are relaxed and the conversations are somehow a bit more real. 370 Common has an honest feel and may just prompt some trusted, honest deals.
 The Whiskey Room (above, left) is a unique way to go for a more intimate, yet relaxed client meeting. The Room boasts a single, butcher block table, exposed brick, hardwood floors, wine cellar storage and small whiskey barrels storing the latest cocktail creations. It also contains an LCD TV, which can be utilized for presentations or viewing sporting events; and can be booked nightly. Guests are welcome to order from the full regular menu or can work with Chef Ryan Adams to design a wine-paired or whiskey-paired tasting menu.
So what all’s on the everyday menu? Think chic comfort food. I started with a recommended Sour Beer Lemon Martini, only available sometimes, that refreshed without being heavy. Pretzel appetizers with spicy mustard set the comfort-tone. The Kale Salad, $10 is fabulous. And the Summer Risotto, $14, (below, right) with seasonal vegetables and Parmesan is fresh, light and satisfies. Dessert? Apple Fried Pies, $6, with salted caramel and vanilla creme (below, right) warm the soul and belly. Now these are just a few of the offerings, you’ll find everything from Shepherds Pie to Burgers, Salmon and much more.
There’s also a neighborly “Buy a friend a drink” chalkboard at the bar, where 370 Common will put someone’s name on the board and their drink can be redeemed whenever they like. So you send a client there who may be too busy to meet up, and treat them to a drink at their leisure.
And by the way, it’s a place for conversation, not e-socializing. Even the menu says, “Cell phones, tweeting, facebooking and emailing have proven harmful to other diner’s appetites.” So bring your clients, put down the phone, throw back a Sour Beer Martini and some artful comfort food, and, of course, pick up the (quite reasonable) tab.
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