if you ask a girl out and she only gives you a lunch date (bad) but you still think you have a shot and want to impress her - you should take her to marche modern. its one of the few fine dining places open for lunch in oc, and its awesome. and its located at south coast plaza so you can go shopping after you win her over...and spend more money.
kobe beef carpaccio & lump crab
theres really nothing fancy about this combination. thinly sliced raw kobe beef, lump crab, arugula, olive oil. i love dishes that are simple, delicate, and fresh. attention to detail and execution are key and thats what makes dishes like this amazing. or its because crab and beef are delicious. you pick.
beef short ribs
if there was a fantasy draft for fine dining and comfort foods - beef short ribs would be my first round pick. theres something about the complexity of flavors that comes from slow cooking as well as the pot-roast-like-now-i-need-to-nap-because-of-comfort-food that short ribs give you. melt in your mouth, eat them with a spoon - theres a reason why a bunch of restaurants have short ribs and theres a reason why they always cook them on the top chef finale - they're impossible to cook bad.
get in my pork belly
one of my favorite ingredients. if youre unfamiliar with pork belly, its as if someone gave you bacon and forgot to slice it, leaving you with a slab full of bacon. whats better than bacon? more bacon. just ask the guys from epic meal time. slow cooked, marinated in a sweet sauce like misoyaki and it essentially becomes bacon candy. if all candy was like this and not like candy corn, halloween would be my number one holiday.
seriously though, this is a nice little place on the third floor of south coast so theres not a whole lot of foot traffic. it has the "outdoor" feel even though youre inside a mall. the food is solid, theres a good wine list, and the menu changes time to time. make a reservation though, the place isnt that big.