Looking for classic American fare in South OC
I'm Taiwanese-American and my fiancee, Cat, is Scottish-Canadian & Irish-American. What this means is that our comfort zones for food lie in completely different areas. For the past seven years, Cat's been a really good sport about all of the Asian hole-in-the-wall places I drag her to, but lately she's been craving the "food of [her] people".
I'm looking for some good, inexpensive mom & pops around the Irvine/South OC area serving classic American fare. Not burgers, Tex-Mex, West Coast, Californian, or Fusion, but good, hearty favorites like roast beef & Yorkshire pudding, meat loaf, fried chicken, chicken & dumplings, beef stroganoff, etc.; things her mother might make for dinner. Hole-in-the-wall and family run recommendations are preferred, but upscale locations are also fine. No corporate chains please. Seeing as we live in Irvine, we've already been to a staggering number of those with disappointing results. What we're looking for are more restaurants serving food like Park Ave in Stanton.
Additional referrals would be much appreciated. Since we both work somewhat late, the closer to Irvine, the better.
I know it's not terribly close to Irvine, but I really like it here. I've driven many a time from Irvine for a reliable meal. The creator is related to the family that does Mimi's Cafe. EXCELLENT variety of comfy food. Relaxed vibe, and reasonable like you wouldn't believe. It's the only location right now.
Kind of a tall order (sad as that sounds), but a few ideas for you:
Gordon James, San Clemente
Cedar Creek Inn, San Juan Capo
Blue Beet, Newport Beach
Muldoon's, Fashion Island
Salt Creek Grille, Dana Point
Houston's, Park Ave. and Olde Ship are all good reccos that have already been made...
Well, shucks...when I read your subject line, I was going to suggest Park Avenue, but then I guess you already know about it...from me no less! HA! It is far from Irvine though. My friends and I often talk about how they'd be a better fit for our city than Stanton, but then, the prices would have to rise as a result.
Have you tried Houstons in Irvine?
Not yet. I read your review of it a while back, but I always thought it was more of a steakhouse than a comfort food restaurant like Park Ave. My philosophy towards steakhouses tends to be avoidance due to the high price point and low (for me) ROI. Though I might swing by and check out their menu if you think it's the type of place we're looking for.