Summer has finally arrived, and with it the pleasures of alfresco dining. One of the prettiest spots for this seasonal indulgence is The Dock in Newport Beach. Located on the canal facing Lido Isle, this restaurant features outdoor seating but is completely enclosed with a vaulted, clear vinyl roof and canvas sides. The transparent wall facing the water allows guests to enjoy the view and can be rolled up in warmer weather. This light and airy space has been very attractively "decked out" with chocolate banquettes accented by French blue pillows. Classic wicker bistro chairs at the center tables and a beautiful natural stone floor complete the picture. It feels as if you're eating in a fabulous tent.
We were seated next to a tableside fire pit with flames emanating from blue glass rocks, providing warmth in both atmosphere and temperature. (Heaters and blankets are available on cooler nights.)
The small-plate section of the menu gave us the opportunity to compose a meal with lots of different tastes. A sashimi of excellent ahi tuna featured some silky slices of ruby red fish accompanied by a surprising creamy avocado sorbet, which had a lovely hint of sweetness but no discernable taste of avocado yet made a sparkling counterpoint to the tuna. It was accessorized with a crunchy little mixed radish salad. Our only complaint was that the soy vinaigrette on the bottom of the plate was too strong, but it was easy enough to lift out the fish. The dish was a complex medley of flavor and textures.