I could be wrong, but I think this is Laguna’s smallest fine dining restaurant. I counted four tables for two outside, and six, maybe eight seats inside at the counter—and three or four parking spots out front. So if you want to eat in, be prepared to walk a block and wait for a table or hope to get lucky. And, the quality of the food and service tells me the waits are just going to get longer. We arrived in time to grab a lunchtime table that had just become available on the small-but-classy open-air patio out front.
Lunch or Dinner, the menus at Maro Wood Grill are just as petite as the restaurant, but there are new selections every day, and from what we saw on the tables around us, you’re bound to find something you love. I chose beef & onion empanadas that were perfectly toasted and tasty ($3.00 each or six for $15.00). So that we experienced a good cross section of the lunch menu, my husband chose the 8 oz Grass Fed Paso Prime Ribeye Steak with Mushroom, Cheese and Onion Savory Bread Pudding ($25.00). The steak was done to perfection and oh-so delicious, apparently without any sauce or added flavorings except a sprinkling of crunchy finishing salt. The savory bread pudding was also spectacular. I would not do it justice to describe it as a moist “dressing,” because it is so much more than that.
This is Argentinean food (or Argentine if you prefer), which we’ve had before, both at restaurants and at private formal Asados. And although Maro serves a wide variety of meat and vegetable dishes, they, like most Argentineans, are all about wood-fired beef—in this case, grass-fed Paso Prime beef from California’s Central Valley.
How does a top new restaurant with less than 20 seats stay in business? By offering family dinners to go; and, home delivery (although it appears that the latter is still being organized). Like the restaurant itself, Maro’s hours are varied and eclectic. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays, the restaurant is open from 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm, serving from the same menu throughout. On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, they serve lunch from 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm; then, they serve a reservations-only Prefixe Dinner from 6:00 P.M. to Midnight. Want to know what’s cooking? You’ll find every day’s lunch and/or Prefixe menu on Maro’s well-organized facebook page.
Bottom line: We loved Maro’s food and service at lunch. We’ll plan to try the Prefixe in the very near future. Maro Wood Grille is just one-half mile from Casa Laguna Inn & Spa, at 1915 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA. If you plan to stay with us and would like to enjoy a Maro Wood Grill lunch or dinner on one of our beautiful patios, just be sure and let us know in advance so that we can make the arrangements.