Hot off the success of Knife, his award-winning restaurant in Dallas, Top Chef veteran and culinary wonder John Tesar decided to make his way westward for his next culinary venture. When he wound up in Laguna Beach, planning the launch of Outer Reef, a surf and turf restaurant he’s opening at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Spa & Resort in Dana Point, he realized that old-fashioned Texas steaks like those on which he’s made his name are just what the community needed. That, and a good deck to eat them on. “Nothing’s bad, but nothing’s pushing the envelope,” he says. “I think you need to go more casual; you need to have some fun and have that view of the ocean. We want to make it elegant but casual and very coastal.”
Tesar, who’s pulled out all the stops as far as the decadent palate is concerned, is marrying local seafood with his own trademark steaks at Outer Reef. The restaurant will feature a dry-age box (which means steaks for two on the menu) as well as fresh California produce and locally sourced seafood. Crudo, caviar, and fresh shellfish are all meant to pay homage to his seafood restaurant, Spoon Bar & Kitchen, in Dallas. “I really want to bring flavors of Dana Point and Laguna and Baja and that Southern California life to the restaurant,” he said. “We’re using only local seafood, and we’re bringing some of the best steaks in the country to Laguna Beach.”
Tesar’s previous accolades include his two stints as a contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef, being a four-time James Beard Award Best Southwest Chef semifinalist, regular appearances on NBC’s Today show and CBS’s The Early Show, and winning the inaugural season of the Food Network’s Extreme Chef.