Dining Out

Glori Fickling

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

hometown appetites.

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

PHONE: 464-1112