Aliso Viejo, CA
Fusion is a tiny little place and it's very casual. Don't expect a big friendly welcome, because the staff is rather stand-off-ish. Beer is on tap, they serve ok wine, and sake. BUT... the sushi is phenomenal. They brag about the fact that they don't serve soy sauce with their sushi with good reason. The owner has come up with many different oils (chili oil, garlic oil, etc.), pickled cabbage, and many other non-traditional ways to flavor her specialties. Don't be turned off by the environment, just go on a night that you are feeling very casual. Oh, and go see the bathroom... it's a trip.
I was a big fan of The Arches, so I really wanted to like A Restaurant. My husband and I went and love the atmosphere as always. As for the menu, great steaks, great appetizers... but the menu is a much lighter menu now. The portions are very small, which was not the case with The Arches. They also serve their steaks with a marrow (yes, bone marrow) filled bone. I couldn't get over it and just kept thinking that it reminded me of a dog treat. As for the pricing vs. The Arches, I would say it's a bit more expensive, you get less food, and I miss the "old Newport" crowd. I wish them the best and I'm sure we'll be back, but it's not my first choice anymore.
I went to Tabu last night with a girlfriend and it was amazing. It's a very small restaurant and managed by Nancy Wilhelm. The food is spectacular. Between the two of us, we had scallops and a tuna poke stack. Then we both ordered the Sea Bass in miso sauce. It was phenomenal. If I would give any warnings, I would repeat that it is very small. If you want privacy... it may not be your place. Guests at neighboring tables will check out your meal when it arrives and you will probably end up talking to them.