230 Forest, a rare dining experience


Proud recipient of the prestigious Zagat award last year, 230

Forest Avenue gained a reputation as the "in spot" among foodies soon

after debuting at its namesake address Downtown in the summer of

1995. With an interestingly revised menu launched at the beginning of

this new year, loyal patrons, who are numerous, are in for delicious


Some enticing new presentations are one example of the updated

bill of fare, and according to gracious principal Terry Rothbard,

prices are slightly lower on a few items. It is the artistry of

innovative executive chef Marc Cohen, however, that has added

refreshing new appeal to what are termed starters, green plates,

ocean and land plates and the famed pasta bowls.

Especially impressive is the delicious ahi tuna tartare appetizer,

standing twin wafer cones strewn with wasabi caviar flanking a

delicate shot of chilled sake at the ready to sprinkle atop the sweet

ginger cones or to sip between bites. Totally new are

made-on-the-premises seafood sausage crowning spicy cannellini beans

in savory mustard sauce; lemon thyme porcini risotto with grilled

asparagus in white truffle oil; fried wontons of goat cheese,

sun-dried tomato and toasted garlic infused with blackberry vinegar.

An ongoing taste bud launcher is the huge bowl of steamed New

Zealand green lip mussels and manila clam laden with slivered leeks

and tomato chunks, the savory broth delicious for sopping with the

crusty French bread offered with little tubs of herbed butter.

A new addition to the pasta lineup is ricotta cheese ravioli with

butternut squash and roasted peptitas in sage brown butter. The

highly favored Thai linguine pasta bowl continues here, flavored with

warm cilantro chicken, roasted red peppers and broccoli topped with

crisp cellophane noodles and a drizzle of creamy peanut sauce.

Joining the dozen ocean and land entrees is white sea bass over

roasted root vegetables with wild rice in sweet onion consomme. To

satisfy dedicated carnivores, 230 Forest now serves a 14-ounce New

York steak livened with three-peppercorn brown butter and accompanied

with fingerling potato fries and grilled asparagus.

This is a dining experience unparalleled, whether you join a

hungry group or choose to dine solo. A welcoming entry bar that

stretches out to the sidewalk. Settle inside, where premium labels

captivate the cocktail contingent, or simply stroll street side. The

whirling numerals "230" are illuminated on the concrete walk, and the

friendly presence of a charming hostess are mere exterior signs of

the enticing repast awaiting at this delightfully artistic gourmet


* GLORI FICKLING is a Laguna Beach resident who has been writing

restaurant news and views columns since 1966. She may be contacted at

494-4710 or by e-mail at ghoneywest@aol.com.

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