New Name but the Same Old Rex

The new sign's up and the name change is official: Rex Restaurant by Newport Pier is now 21 Oceanfront. Different name, basically same restaurant. Owners (Rex and Susan Chandler), managing director (John Rader) and executive chef (Luis Tzorin) are all as before. So, too, is the menu--with a few additions. The change of name heralds the advent of the new Rex Restaurant, to open in Fashion Island in mid-October.

Hubert's in Hutton Centre, Santa Ana, debuts Thursday, Sept. 27, at MacArthur Boulevard and the Costa Mesa Freeway in the mauve building, earlier site of the Courthouse Restaurant. Chef Harry Tobor, formerly of the Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage, will prepare an eclectic mix of international cuisine, from lobster strudel with chive butter to squab with pan-fried noodles. The main bar will feature wood-grilled pizzas and tapas , the finger foods of Spain.

Hubert's is at 2 Hutton Centre Drive. Lunch Monday through Friday; dinner nightly and Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A la carte lunch prices: $6 to $9; dinner, $8 to $15. (714) 545-6776.

Look for the Bay Colony, serving authentic New England fare, to debut at 3950 Campus Drive in Newport Beach toward the end of October. It's the extensively researched, long-dreamed-of project of former attorney and former New Englander Ken Golden. Boston baked beans and brown bread, cranberry dishes and live lobster are a few of the promised menu items.

Rattlesnake beer, Gator lager and Rhino Chasers amber ale are just some of the labels on the list of more than 20 uniquely named American regional beers being featured at--where else?--Hunters Saloon in the Doubletree Hotel, Orange. The saloon also imports ales, pilseners, lagers and stouts from such faraway places as Cold Spring, Minn., and Yakima, Wash. Buck Mathias, Doubletree's director of food and beverages, terms it "the largest selection of regional and micro-brewed beers in the South County, the work of the best brewmasters in the country." Each day a featured beer is offered at a special price. Hunters Saloon is at 100 The City Drive and is open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Monday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to midnight Sundays. Information: (714) 634-4500.

Doing lunch on Saturdays appears to be the newest trend. Bistro 201 opened recently for Saturday lunches, served from 11:30 a.m. till 3 p.m. The restaurant is at 18201 Von Karman Ave., Irvine, (714) 553-9201. Also, Zeppa in Fashion Island has just introduced Saturday lunches, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Reservations: (714) 640-0600.

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