Tommy Bahama’s Island Grille – Not Just a Clothing Store Anymore

by Franklin on May 7, 2013

I’m not a retired old man, nor am I rich. Tommy Bahama clothing represents just that. Old male clothing, preferably rich, relaxing at a beach or island somewhere, and preferably of which you own, thats what I think of Tommy Bahama. Never in a million years would I associate this with a restaurant or bar. Intrigued to find out there was a Tommy Bahama’s Island Grille in Newport Beach, I just had to go. If for anything, their happy hour menu was decent and a steal. We sat at the bar and enjoyed our time.

We started off with some bread and sweet butter. Their signature, 4 pointed bread was unique and delicious. I wasn’t a fan of the sweet butter — I seldom like the sweet kind. The bread itself though, was soft and had a perfect chewy yet tender consistency. A great start!

When I saw their quesadilla was made with goat cheese, I knew I had to order them. If it weren’t for the goat cheese, these quesadillas would be just like any other. The goat cheese gave this a nice tart taste and went well with the other creamy cheese. The chicken was plenty and gave this a nice bite. Though it was missing the melty sensation a good quesadilla should have, it was still flavorful. The side salsa did a good job of adding flavor and color without taking away from the goat cheese.

The seared ahi tuna was quite a steal at only like 6 bucks. The tuna was nicely seared with a cooked outside and raw inside. Though a bit dry, the soy sauce wasabi mixture made up for it. Sitting on a bed of seaweed salad and cucumber slices, it had a full spectrum of flavors. The umami rich soy sauce and fish with the acidic greens made a great combination.

It seems that the lobster grilled cheese on the menu was their most popular. Even though it wasn’t on the happy hour menu, I still had to order it. To stop you from reading further, I would have been happier with a lobster roll. This sandwich is definitely more of a grilled cheese sandwich than a lobster sandwich. The three cheeses mix into a gooey mixture inside. I don’t know if the lobster was flavorless or the cheese just overpowered the Maine lobster, but the lobster was missing in this sandwich. Whatever happened to no cheese with seafood? The sourdough was soaking in butter and really crunchy, not a bad thing. It was a treat to have this sandwich with the heirloom tomato soup. It was warm and the contrast from crunchy/fatty to warm/acidic was nice. I wish a smaller portion was available on the happy hour menu so that I didn’t have to invest so much to find out it was average. I guess that’s part of the job right?

Though the savory was average, I was once again saved by the dessert. We picked up a free dessert or appetizer voucher at the store next door. Naturally, dessert was in order, and the pina colada cake was ready to be devoured. If anyone asks, I will always take cake over pie — always. The pina colada cake here was amazing! Free voucher or not, you must get this cake. The four layers of vanilla cake was moist and softer that ever, with the help of the myer dark rum. In the addicting frosting within the layers were diced pineapple that was subtle and more sweet than sour. The white chocolate mousse surrounding the cake was delicious, and the toasted coconut sticking on top and the edge finished it off nicely. The mixture of the hint of coconut and pineapple definately made this a pina colada cake, and the sweetness was just perfect. I was quite satisfied with this delicious cake.

It is official. Tommy Bahama isn’t just a clothing store. Some have restaurants attached to them. The inside is similar to that of any other restaurant. Think of something a little better than Claim Jumpers, with an awesome bar, and of course an island theme. The food is decent and the happy hour is even better. I won’t think of Tommy Bahama the same ever again. No more thinking about island shirts or rich retired folks. I’ll be thinking of those four pointed breads, happy hour, and of course that addicting pina colada cake. That’s what Tommy Bahama is to me now.

Tommy Bahama Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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