Celebrity Chef Gary Schiffauer Launches Sunday Brunch At Reefs Edge Grill

Celebrity Chef Gary Schiffauer Launches Sunday Brunch At Reefs Edge Grill

From top right: Reefs Edge Grill logo (courtesy of Reefs Edge Grill); Salmon Cakes (courtesy of Reefs Edge Grill); Reefs Edge Grill interior (by Lauren Lloyd)

The year was 1989. Paula Abdul's debut album, "Forever Your Girl," had just hit the airwaves and was gaining multi-platinum status while spawning top singles. Around the same time, the pop goddess hired a personal chef. Creating fresh, original dishes under the name Gourmet Sensations, Executive Chef Gary Schiffauer became Abdul’s right-hand man in the kitchen. More than two decades and several celebrity clients later, Schiffauer stands at the helm of his first brick and mortar restaurant, Reefs Edge Grill, in Huntington Beach. He recently gifted Sundays a new brunch spread, and he's also offering a couple special deals for M&P readers.

An "urban grill with a gourmet flair," Reefs Edge opened its doors near the corner of Garfield and Magnolia on May 10 of this year, bringing something truly unique to town for dinner. The artfully illustrated crisscrossed silverware logo adorning the fast-casual eatery's windows piques interest, and once inside, the rustic elegance interior proves inviting. Schiffauer's wife, Laura, designed the space, juxtaposing materials like distressed wood, marble, and stainless steel to create a refreshing, relaxing style and ambiance. To keep costs down, the couple renovated the family-friendly eatery largely themselves, and the result is modern and chic.

Each perfectly seasoned dish is made from scratch and unique to Schiffauer's and Chef Russ Troolines' recipe books. With a focus on freshness, quality, and affordability, the bites are beautifully styled, featuring inventive twists on classics. Offerings include icy and spicy eats from the sea, land lovers plates, sandwiches—including a shrimp po' boy—salad, nightly specials, and sweet desserts. We happily ate our way through the menu and have been daydreaming about it ever since. 

The "From The Sea To The Grill" menu section dares diners to customize their plates by selecting one of five fresh fish options and one of four housemade sauces. Filets are accompanied by caramelized shallot orzo and carrot soufflé, which is gorgeously presented on the plate. It's almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

Sitting atop banana leaves, the poke ahi appetizer marinates in a heavenly ginger, garlic, sesame, soy, and mirin sauce and was one of our favorites. The accompanying wonton chips are so fresh on the eyes, nose, and tongue, we had to ask about their frying process, which uses clean oil that's changed and recycled daily. If we could dive into the linguini with clams pot and swim through the tasty wine, garlic, and green onion broth, while soaking it up like the fresh baked bread served with the dish, we absolutely would. The classic, creamy New England clam chowder does not disappoint, though pescetarians need take note that the dish includes bacon. Even the zippy edamame, sprinkled with rock salt, chile, and roasted garlic, takes the palette on an unexpected ride.

Schiffauer's impressive culinary career has been a ride in itself. With Abdul as his first client, he went on to cook for other notable celebs, including Toni Braxton, Charlie and Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, and musician Kenny G, who later also made Schiffauer his tour manager. Covered in famous faces, Schiffauer's wall of fame displays directly inside the front door. More than 25 years of experience in the kitchen speaks volumes about Schiffauer's skills, as does his long list of Hollywood clients and training at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. But what also shines is the Cleveland, Ohio, native's—and his team’s—genuine passion for inventing dishes and befriending guests. A friendly staff goes a long way, and Reefs Edge has perfected this perk.

Celebrity moment at Reefs Edge Grill. From right: Chef Russ Troolines, Kenny G, and Chef Gary Schiffauer (Photo courtesy of Reefs Edge Grill)

Reefs Edge's new Sunday brunch just wrapped its third installment, hydrating diners with complimentary mimosas and filling bellies with sweet and savory fare. Like the dinner menu, the brunch version is categorized into sections, including omelettes, chorizo, French toast, classics, and Benedicts. From the mascarpone French toast to the smoked salmon Benedict, Schiffauer has brunch covered. Even lighter bites, like the blueberry parfait and oatmeal with all the fixin's, made the menu.

Eats aside, imbibers are invited to kick back at the 12-seat bar with tap and bottled beer, as well as wine and delicious housemade sangria. Flat screens entertain sports fans, and classic rock tunes set the stage for casual good times and meals.

Guests who mention this post while visiting Reefs Edge in December will be rewarded. Dinner diners will receive a complimentary order of spicy edamame, and brunch buddies will score complimentary bottomless mimosas (with food purchase).

Reefs Edge is open daily for dinner from 4:30-9 p.m., and for Sunday brunch from 10 a.m.-2 pm. Happy hour goes from 4:30-6:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Monday nights offer a special NFL menu.

Follow Reefs Edge Grill on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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