Laguna’s illustrious Forest Avenue with its burgeoning restaurant row
and imaginative art venues, has just gained another dimension with the
recent emergence of Hemingway’s, a provocative fine dining establishment
that has taken over the recently vacated Osterio Debasso.
The locale was known in its earliest days as The Cellar and its only
successful phase beyond that time was David Wilhelm’s Southwestern-themed
venue, Kachina, which closed due to severe rains and flooding. The sudden
change a few weeks ago surprised even longtime neighboring businesses.
This, however, spells happy times for foodies because the new tenants
are Daniel and Jacqueline Sidhoum Kennedy, who gained notoriety for their
former Mistral in Corona del Mar and more recently their popular
Pescadou, which continues under their guidance in Newport Beach.
What we are now blessed to have from this delightful French couple is
a menu featuring delectable French cuisine with accents of many and
varied cultures. Inciting tempters, for example, run a gamut from Cous
Cous Royal resplendent with tender lamb, chick peas and root vegetables
to penne pasta in a zesty Italian sauce with perfectly poached salmon
chunks. Reflecting this chef’s heritage we find bouillabaisse
Marseilles, steak au Poivre, frog legs Provencale, and an authentic
escargots redolent of garlic and butter.
“We love to entertain,” admits the charming Jacqueline,
enthusiastically in her delightful French accent.
The two share a passion for parties resulted in the decision for Chef
Sidhoun Kennedy to move forward on his own and take his considerable
cooking talents from Westwood’s Metzaluma to create, with his bride, the
highly successful Mistral.
The Hemingway name was inspired, she says, by Sidhoum Kennedy’s
passion for all things American including the name of the renowned
To further attract our hometown populace with their personal dining
concept, these warmly hospitable proprietors are currently tempting taste
buds with daily sidewalk specials. These are posted against the front
iron gate which leads downstairs to alfresco seating outside the dining
room. Here, a colorful free-form bar facing the kitchen allows guests
sipping cocktails to view the chef deftly eating his aromatic offerings
of appetizers, entrees and delectable desserts. These sidewalk specials
are an eye-catching attraction featuring prices we haven’t seen in
For example, such entrees as rack of lamb and seared ahi are not
uncommon to find daytimes for only $9.95, a mere $4 additional after 5
Similar bargains include roasted rabbit, grilled veal chops, vegetable
lasagna called tian, pork chops in mushroom port sauce. Lunch specials
are in the $7 to $10 range; dinners are from $10.50 to $15.50.
The monthly menu will soon be seasonal, according to manager Jay
Fadel, a native of Casablanca, who notes that this will be based on our
Summer hours soon will be extended until 1:30 a.m. as the liquor
license covers this time frame.
WHERE: 222 Forest Ave.
HOURS: Lunch is from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. every day; dinner is
5 p.m. to closing