American in Laguna Beach

At this stylish purveyor of New American cuisine, the small-plates menu ($8 to $15) ranges from filet mignon pot pie to sizzling garlic shrimp and New Zealand green lip mussels. In fact, appetizers are so good, and the cocktail list so inventive (blueberry-coconut mojito, anyone?), you might decide to skip the classic surf-and-turf dinners.

The sleek, not stuffy dining room has glass front doors thrown open to the sidewalk and sea breezes.