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Restaurant of the Week: Bello Chef’s Table

If you’re looking for an elegant, interactive culinary experience, you must take a seat at Bello Chef’s Table. Located inside Bello by Sandro Nardone in Newport Beach, guests are treated to a 12-course meal (plus wine pairings, if you wish) comprising snacks, entrees and desserts made right in front of your eyes.

Chef Zach Scherer helms Bello Chef’s Table in conjunction with Sandro Nardone, Bello’s owner and executive chef. Scherer has extensive high-end culinary experience and joined the Bello team in 2020. Nardone was born in a small city in Central Italy and grew up in the restaurant business. He eventually studied cooking in Italy and worked at several restaurants, including the famous Al Mulino outside of Rome. 

Credit: Derek Van Oss Photography

One of the most special things about Bello Chef’s Table is that it is only available Thursday through Saturday, and the menu changes every week. The menu you experience at Bello Chef’s Table you will likely never experience again.

While seated at the chef’s table, you are treated to Scherer’s fun-loving personality and culinary expertise. As he preps, cooks and plates each dish, Scherer explains where the ingredients came from and how they interact together. The season’s best fresh ingredients sold by local Southern California growers like Chino Farms inspire each menu.

Upon sitting down, Scherer handed us our first drink of the evening: a bubbly gin cocktail made with Aperol. It was a crisp and mildly sweet way to start our dinner. Additionally, we chose the option to add a wine pairing and receive a different pour to complement each snack, entree and dessert. If you choose this option, take it from us and use a rideshare to truly enjoy your evening without worrying about driving home.

For our tasting menu, our favorite snack was foie gras atop a dark chocolate cracker and covered in truffles. The entrees were all stellar, but we had a couple of standouts:

  • Caviar with slow-cooked potato, Parmesano froth and micro herbs
  • Lobster and prosciutto fat with mussel and squash blossom sauce
  • Scallop with milk and brown butter, Muscat sauce and clementine
  • Squab with black pepper, slow roasted persimmon and sunchoke

Lest we forget dessert—and there were two of them! First, the apple with pumpkin oil and crumb was wonderful and light. Second, the persimmon upside down cake with crème fraîche was sinfully good; we could have eaten a couple of those!

If you haven’t dined at Bello before, Nardone aims to bring Italian food to Orange County the way it’s served in Italy. The menu is comprised of a mix of Italian favorites and creative, modern dishes. In true Italian fashion, every pasta is made fresh in-house every day in the open kitchen, and pizza is made in a wood-fired oven.

For more information about Bello Chef’s Table, visit www.bellobysandronardone.com

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