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Rum Social in Laguna Seashore

Tuna poke, the Hemingway and Fishers lemonade cocktails. {Photograph} by Emily J. Davis

No.eed a staycation? Newcomer Rum Social is a most intriguing vacation spot now that the summer time vacationers have left Laguna Seashore. The Coast Freeway venue welcomes locals with some spiffy new digs, tropical island-inspired delicacies, and luscious cocktails. Open since April within the former residence of Watermarc, the spot is a dapper improve to historic Peppertree Lane.

Enter from Coast Freeway and a staircase beckons, although many diners are seated on the primary flooring, with a mega window open to the vigorous sidewalk scene. Darkish-wood tables, brass sconces, etched-glass dividers, and sheer curtains over casement home windows lend a whiff of pre-Castro Havana. Small tables present many of the seating, although 4 plush cubicles accommodate bigger events. Upstairs, it is one other world of treetop tables, palm tree murals, and flatscreen loops of turquoise waters lapping at white sand seashores. A good-looking sq. bar is the place each drop of cocktail magic is conjured.

Regardless of the dissimilar settings, they share one menu. How good that brunch and dinner menus boast dishes we’ve not seen. OC veteran cooks Jered Adams and Nick Herrera rule the kitchen and bar, they usually’ve clearly traveled nicely past previous gigs on the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, Playground, and Taco María. “Caribbean” is the class Rum Social claims, however that label is each too slim and too broad. Taste profiles borrow from Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Malaysia, even Japan. And what about these elements which can be Basque, Vietnamese, and Chinese language? You get the thought. “Tropical” is a greater designation, although not precise.

Menu selections just about demand blurring boundaries. I counsel the edges finest belong within the firsts part, as they’re all portioned for sharing. My first go to noticed uncooked Hamachi, candy and bitter duck leg, Haitian roasted chickpeas, and fried bamboo rice crowding the desk. The duck, whereas flavorful, wasn’t crispy and wasn’t simple to share given it was on the bone and included a spoonful of Asian-type slaw. Squeaky recent, the uncooked yellowtail’s brightness stood as much as the tart citrus and Shark sauce—the sprinkling of crushed corn mud remembers a Peruvian ceviche.

The second flooring at Rum Social evokes a treehouse vibe. {Photograph} by Emily J. Davis

Chickpeas had been a logistical problem, the roly-poly garbanzo beans on a flat plate defended spearing with forks. Chopsticks would assist to share these, the crudo and the plantains, too. Billed as a facet dish incorporating smoked stir-fry, Uncle Ken’s Fried Rice lacked punch, however maybe that is one of the best ways to showcase the jade-hued rice’s delicate taste. I confess including a contact of soy and Togarashi to shine off the leftovers.

Grilled prawns are overly salty on one go to however vibrant and fetching the following. Skip the tasteless garlic noodles and as an alternative share the Brussels sprouts with XO sauce, crispy onions, and shiso. Roasted spiced heirloom carrots are flawless, if you happen to can ignore the paltry portion. Caribbean cassolette, although usually a cool-weather brief rib entree, was dish of the evening one July dinner—a stew of tender pulled beef, white beans, and greens sloshing in a chic braising jus. Jerk hen is one among Jamaica’s hallmark dishes; Right here the leg is elevated with duck fats black beans, bamboo rice, and sprightly escabeche.

Uncooked hamachi with citrus and shark sauce. {Photograph} by Emily J. Davis

Chocolate worshipers take notice: The chocolate pudding was extra of a beautiful caramel budino. Choose gelato flavors come from the colossally in style Gelato Paradiso throughout the alley. Cocktails are worthy of their very own evaluation. It is clear a lot thought is behind the 18 signature drinks utilizing top-shelf spirits. Retro stemware is a pleasant contact, and the bartenders by no means scrimp on presentation. If the rumor is true, I am up for the rum tasting.

Service is simply too uneven to price. On a number of visits, the hospitality was by turns careless, gracious, lazy, and accommodating. To be truthful, many different eating places on my circuit delivered related outcomes all summer time.

Continuous shuffling of dishes signifies Rum Social is keen to fine-tune the novel fare—a promising signal from this rookie enterprise. What is not altering is the tropical mindset and sultry setting, so preserve your eye on this close by retreat that would nicely turn into your back-pocket island getaway.

448 S. Coast Freeway
Laguna Seashore


  • uncooked hamachi
  • Crispy candy ‘n’ bitter duck
  • grilled prawns
  • Caribbean cassolette
  • RS Cuba Libre cocktail


Starters and sides, $7 to $24
Entrees, $24 to $60
Cocktails, $15 to $20


Paid parking accessible in rear storage on Glenneyre.