One chilly Wednesday night, sitting next to billion-dollar boats large enough to carry elephants, I’ve just finished course No. 5 at Lido Bottle Works’ Alpha Omega wine dinner when it feels as if my stomach has become a Babylonian flood vessel. I’ve consumed a myriad of God’s creatures—lobster, quail, swordfish, venison, a smidge of pork rillette—and dessert, each masterfully paired with a gorgeous wine. And five glasses in, I quietly wonder what ocean animals did during the biblical age of Noah’s Ark, then quickly gain comfort knowing they probably had a Little Mermaid-style party under da sea, complete with steel drums.
I don’t normally finish all the things at any beer or wine dinner, as that tends to be 50 times my USDA daily allowance of fat, salt, calories and booze. But when it’s all this outstanding, the proverbial steel drums that pound in my head take over, and the plates get taken away clean.
Lido Bottle Works has these special pairing events regularly, letting executive chef Amy Lebrun break out of her shell—not only culinary-wise, but also socially. “I tend to be quite happy back in the kitchen and don’t really come out to talk much, but I’m getting used to it with these dinners,” she says, holding up a glass of a wildly aromatic Sauvignon Blanc from Alpha Omega, which is located around 15 miles north of Napa proper.
The restaurant sits directly on Newport Harbor in the quaint Lido Marina Village, where a wooden walkway makes way for Duffy boat slips and a view of the waveless water. The dining room resembles the inside of a boat, and the bar services both inside and the outdoor patio with a great local beer list and a fun selection of wines. Being a bottle shop as well, Lido Bottle Works’ back cooler is filled with bottles and cans of coastal craft beers from the likes of Gunwhale and others.
I truly didn’t expect to see a giant spiked lobster freshly caught by the Santa Barbara dory fleet sitting on a plate, its 6-inch antenna so big it could possibly pick up local HD stations. Each dish and wine selection in the meal built upon the last; by the time dessert hit, I felt as if I had achieved a new level of enlightenment.
The beer and wine purveyors that collaborate with Lido Bottle Works are also at the top of their game. Alpha Omega’s wines are bold and complex, but also fine-tuned toward a California palate. They’re also highly rated and a bit spendy. But from the rosé to the Chardonnay to the Cab, each one spoke my language.
Check out the restaurant’s website to see which event is next in the series!
Lido Bottle Works, 3408 Via Oporto, Ste. 103, Newport Beach, (949) 529-2784; lidobottleworks.com.
Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, level 1 WSET in Wine, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest happening on June 29th in Anaheim!