Best New Restaurant

Seen a gastropub lately? Second only to gourmet trucks, the prevailing food trend in OC this year is the recent proliferation of gastropubs. SideDoor, one of the newest as of this writing, gets the formula right (if there were such a thing). It actually feels like an English tavern from a movie-set designer's sketchbook on English taverns. Sit on plush couches from Masterpiece Theater or booths that allow you to nuzzle your frosty mug of ale in private. The food is of the unapologetically rich, check-your-blood-pressure-afterward variety—a roster that includes beef-fat fries and duck-liver terrines insulated by a thick layer of solidified duck fat. And we haven't mentioned the thinly sliced bounty of cured meats and cheeses the charcuterie station produces from a hand-cranked deli slicer. Forget about reservations; they don't take 'em. Stand and wait like everyone else. Yes, it's the kind of chaos you see at Twitter-fueled, hype-driven food trucks . . . except here, you get to sit down at an actual table when your name is called.

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