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New Restaurants Relegate the Recession to Back Burner

January 31, 1991|BEVERLY BUSH SMITH

Recession? What recession? This winter brings a number of new restaurants to Orange County. Among them, a third Rib Trader, which debuted in Orange last week. Like Don Long's others, (in Dana Point and San Clemente) this one's a jungle of exotic plants and wild animal replicas. The menu's the same, the specialty, of course, being barbecue, featuring Midwest cornfed beef. The average dinner price is $11, and the restaurant is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. They anticipate a liquor license by mid-February. The new Rib Trader is at 2710 Chapman Ave. (at the Chapman east exit of the Costa Mesa Freeway); (714) 744-9288.

Z Pizza recently opened a dine-in or takeout spot for "upscale gourmet" pizza on Alton Parkway in Irvine. (There are three other Orange County locations--in Newport Beach, South Laguna and on Campus Drive in Irvine.) Z's is a thin-crust pizza that comes in 12 international varieties, including Greek (with feta, oregano) and Mexican (salsa, lime chicken). Prices average $15.95 for a pizza that serves four or five. The new Z Pizza is at 5365 Alton Parkway; (714) 551-1555.

Newport Avenue Grille in Tustin is no more. In its place we now have the Captain's Cabin, recently opened by Pete Vaikakul, who also owns a Captain's Cabin in Palo Alto. This casual, fresh-seafood restaurant serves lunch Monday through Friday and dinner nightly. All meals include soup or salad. Entrees vary from filet of salmon with lemon-caper sauce, bay shrimp and artichoke hearts to seafood cannelloni en casserole with shrimp, crab, scallops and Monterey Jack cheese. Dinner prices: $7.95 to $14.95, or $22.95 for the Australian lobster tail. Located at 13572 Newport Ave.; (714) 731-1711.

Capistrano Depot has reopened with its new Rio Grande Bar and Grill. Among the additions to the 1890s ambience are stone floors, a brick-walled, fountain-centered patio and a redwood deck outside the bandstand/bar area. New managing owner Peter Henderson has kept the prime rib and other beef specialties but added regional dishes such as pollo cilantro (broiled chicken breast marinated in yogurt, lemon, cilantro and garlic). Dinner prices range from $8.95 to $17.95. The restaurant serves lunch Monday through Saturday, Sunday brunch and nightly dinner. It's at 26701 Verdugo St., San Juan Capistrano. (714) 831-0232.

You'll soon have a new option for brunching on the bay in Newport Beach. Sunday, Feb. 3, Barbacoa will inaugurate a tropical-style brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The menu brings a blend of Pacific Rim, Mexican and Caribbean influences: coconut shrimp with hot mustard and tangerine sauce; pizza with duck-cilantro sausage, jalapeno pesto, corn and red peppers, and mango creme brulee. With the restaurant's tiered seating, every table has an ocean view, and those coming by boat can tie up in one of Barbacoa's slips. The restaurant is at 3333 Coast Highway; (714) 646-6090.

The new Holiday Inn in San Clemente takes a continental tack with its restaurant, Maxim's. The extensive lunch menu accents salads (chicken-walnut with Dijon dressing, Italian Cobb) and fresh seafood. Prices: $4.50 to $13.95. A la carte dinner entrees range from New York pepper steak with creme -Cognac sauce to breast of chicken with artichokes and roasted peppers. Prices: $9.95 to $15.95. Chef/owner is George Fawzy, who had a restaurant in Paris before coming to the United States. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Located at 111 S. Camino de Estrella (at Presidio); (714) 361-1200.

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