Bourbon Steak Orange County

A California-chic steakhouse

Originally racking up accolades in the early 2000s as executive chef at Aqua in San Francisco, acclaimed chef-restaurateur Michael Mina has built a culinary empire in less than two decades. The new Bourbon Steak Orange County at Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club in Dana Point joins the chef’s ever-expanding portfolio.

The American-style chophouse, opened early March 2018, is one of seven Bourbon Steak restaurants across the country. This iteration stands out for its robust cocktail program, the most tableside menu options — try the Japanese whisky service for a one-of-a-kind option — and Pacific panoramas.

Although Mina drops in about once a month to ensure quality and greet guests, the day-to-day operation at Bourbon Steak Orange County is led by executive chef Christopher Sanchez.

Wines are curated by sommelier Michelle Morin and guest favorite bartender Jenny Buchhagen crafts classic cocktails.

Our Inspector's Highlights

  • The staff — no matter the position — exudes a sense of ownership and pride. This is reflected in the high caliber of swift, professional service performed with a smile.
  • The menu’s highlights are served tableside, usually with a dash of theatrical flair, such as sizzling sound effects or hay-scented smoke wafting from a raised cloche. For this reason, Bourbon Steak Orange County is an excellent choice for entertaining clients or celebrating a special occasion with a loved one.
  • True to the Dana Point restaurant’s name, the bourbon whiskey selection is impressive, especially if you enjoy smaller-batch craft varieties. As an ode to old-school steakhouses, the eatery is rolling out a martini cart service this summer featuring Nolet’s gin and Ketel One vodka martinis made tableside.
  • If you’re feeling adventurous, opt for a “new school” version of a classic cocktail — there are eight from which to choose. For example, if you like Moscow Mules, you’ll probably enjoy the Orange County restaurant’s Asian-inspired riff using green chartreuse, green chili vodka, yuzu juice, shiso and ginger beer.
  • The views of the ocean are a spectacular accompaniment to the well-executed dining experience. Dine early to catch the sunset.

Things to Know

  • Although all tables have a view of the Pacific, for the best vistas, request one of the two oceanside-raised banquets. In the summer, alfresco dining is available on the petite patio.
  • Reservations are highly recommended for a table. However, you can enjoy the full menu or a smaller sampling of more casual fare at the bar, which is first-come, first-served.
  • Have someone to impress at dinner? The culinary team can print a personalized message or logo on an edible sheet of rice paper to float atop a cocktail. Call 24 hours ahead to request it.
  • For the most reasonably priced bottles of wine on the menu, go to the “secrets of the sommelier” page where the bottles start at $44. The vintages here hail from more esoteric wine regions with unique grape varietals.
  • A tasting menu with wine pairings will be unveiled in summer 2018. However, if you’d like this now, the restaurant is happy to create an experience catered to your dietary wishes.

The Food

  • The evening starts out with a complimentary trio of addictive fries and dipping sauces. Unique to Bourbon Steak Orange County are the spicy Tajín-dusted fries — a nod to neighboring Mexico, only a few hours drive south.
  • Start with the caviar parfait (layered Royal Osetra caviar, crème fraîche, smoked salmon and creamy hard-boiled eggs atop a crispy hash brown) — it’s bliss in every bite.
  • The lobster pot pie with brandied lobster cream is served tableside with fanfare, and the comforting dish tastes just as good as it looks. 
  • The cast-iron broiled seafood platter served over rock salt and christened with red miso butter is a not-to-be-missed tableside delight.
  • Bourbon Steak Orange County’s butter-poached prime cuts melt in your mouth. Opt for the Snake River Farms ribeye cap or A5 waygu strip loin.

The Design

  • The stylish 100-seat space has a steakhouse vibe with a chic coastal California twist and a stunning centerpiece walnut bar.
  • The Bishop Pass-designed Orange County restaurant forgoes the traditional dark den ambiance of the traditional steakhouse and instead opts for light oak-paneled walls, warm and natural lighting (due to the restaurant’s ocean-facing windows), floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled with intriguing bibelots and colorful modern art.
  • The cream- and sand-colored leather banquettes add to the intimate atmosphere.
  • Just off the main space, a private dining room is available, complete with a cozy fireplace and a library, that comfortably seats up to 24 people.

Business casual
Gluten-free options
Kid friendly
Outdoor seating
Private dining
Reservations recommended
Valet parking
Vegetarian options
Getting There
1 Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, California 92629
Bourbon Steak Orange County
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