What you might not know about Rich Mead, longstanding chef-owner of Sage in Newport Beach, is that he used to work for the IRS. Ya, another tax collector goes tuna tartare. So it seems appropriate that Mead closed his other restaurant, Sage on the Coast, just two days after Tax Day this year (for you highly organized early filer types, that means the restaurant closed last Saturday). His latest restaurant venture, Canyon in Anaheim Hills, opens in a few weeks.
The restaurant, according to Mead, will open "sometime shortly after Mother's Day" and will focus on "reasonably priced, simple, fresh dishes" in a more casual, laid-back environment than Sage. He's going with the small/large plate concept, only here they're more of a customizable size kind of thing than tapas-style plates.
That means if you only want three ounces of that roasted salmon with spring onions and baby squash, you can have it. Big Appetites can go for the six-ounce size (meats will work the same way, only in slightly larger portions). And Non-Sharers (you know who you are) now may actually have a legitimate argument that there really is no reason for wayward forks to meander their way. Order your own damn "petite" plate of ribs.
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Behind the free-standing restaurant, Mead has installed planter boxes that are still awaiting their veggies. Luke Schaner of Schaner Farms is lending his green thumb (the 20-something third generation farmer studied agricultural engineering at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo). Mead says he hopes to soon have an assortment of herbs and vegetables to use at the restaurant, but notes that he will definitely be keeping those "twice baked Alex Weiser potatoes with gorgonzola." And just like that, a farmer becomes a potato variety.
Canyon Restaurant, 5775 East Santa Ana Canyon Blvd., Anaheim Hills. Website (coming soon), canyonrestaurantoc.com.