Irvine Restaurant Porch & Swing Featured in Westways Magazine

Monday, August 30, 2021

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The fall 2021 issue of Westways Magazine included a feature of Porch & Swing in Irvine.

Here’s what reporter Miles Clement wrote:

This Southern-leaning restaurant is a case study of hard-won success. Despite launching at the outset of the lockdowns, Porch & Swing still managed to become one of Orange County’s most lauded new dining rooms.

That feat might at first seem improbable. Porch & Swing occupies the bottom corner of an office tower in a palm tree-lined corporate courtyard. The setting is pleasant but sterile, the kind of space that’s barren by dusk. But that same emptiness allows Porch & Swing to take center stage—and the kitchen knows how to handle the spotlight.

The restaurant bills itself as “a taste of Charleston,” and there’s plenty here with which to imagine a Southern vacation. Start with the impeccable skillet cornbread, impossibly light and airy while still retaining some of that signature grit. It’s made even better by a sweet dollop of honey butter.

The menu changes daily, but the heirloom tomatoes are a staple, placed atop a slick of white barbecue sauce and topped with pickled jalapeños and crunchy corn bread crumbs.

Porch & Swing dishGarlic-laced potato gratin is as classic and decadent as it gets. The house salad is seasonal, memorable, and refined: Most recently referred to as the Coast-to-Coast Salad, it showcased ruffled leaves of lettuce, Bosc pear, pickled peaches, toasted pecans, and crispy fried quinoa.

Shrimp recently received a warm-weather makeover with butter beans, charred baby zucchini, and pickled Fresno chiles.

The braised and glazed short rib has, through its various iterations, been one of Porch & Swing’s biggest hits—and deservedly so. But the roasted pork jowl is even better. The pork is encrusted with areas of fatty, crunchy caramelization and is paired with creamy grits and enlivened with a sweet-spicy pepper jam.

By the time dessert is a consideration, there’s really only one proper choice: warm brioche bread pudding served with vanilla semifreddo.

Best dishes: Skillet cornbread, house salad, potato gratin, roasted pork jowl, black tiger shrimp, braised short rib, bread pudding.

Dinner prices: Starters, $11–$21; entrées, $21–$36; desserts, $4–$16.

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Category: Restaurants, Irvine News, Things to do in Irvine, Destination Irvine