Cafe Gazelle in Huntington Beach now open
For "Justathing" and others in the OC area:
Cafe Gazelle does have a new location in Huntington Beach and it's open. It's in the middle of an older strip mall, but the interior has been redone and they have almost double the seating room at this location compared to the Long Beach one.
We finally had dinner there last night, early (between 5 & 5:30). There was one group there when we arrived, in the one booth at the back. Quite an unusual booth - shaped like the asymetrical couches (I think they used to call them 'swooning couches' - the back is higher on one side). The rest of the seating is at regular square tables. Anyway, the locals are begining to discover the place. Several parties of four came in shortly after us, and a ladie's group of about 8 began to arrive as we left. Great thing about this location is their ability to push together the square tables for larger groups - as you know, the Long Beach location has very limited options for groups larger than 2.
Service was very attentive, and portion sizes were filling and tasty. Fresh, HOT, crusty bread arrived promptly. We split a pear, walnut, cheese and lettuce salad ($8) at the recommendation of the head waiter. Nice salad, but no dressing, which was fine for me since I hate salads that "swim." We split a delicious tiramisu for dessert. I wasn't as impressed with the dinners as we had been in L.B., but would like to hear from others what they would recommend at this lnew location.
The new decor was nice, but "minimalist." Chairs are much more comfortable here than the other location. A few green plants on stands or potted cypresses and perhaps a small fountain near the entrance would have really added a nice touch. When you walk in, there is no podium or anything for a greeter to stand at - you have to walk to the back to speak to the attendent (who welcomed us to sit anywhere). Though there was pleasant background music playing very softly, a small fountain with water sounds near the entrance would have still added a nice ambience, since the front door was propped open to allow the sea breezes to provide ventilation but also admitted some parking lot noise.
Information lists the following: phone: 714-846-2694
I called and a recording gave the address as 16041 Bolsa Chica at the corner of Edinger. They serve lunch until 2 and open for dinner at 5. You can leave a reservation request on their recording.
Mine was on the specials page but I don't recall the name of it. It had rigatoni type pasta, scallops, shrimp and mushrooms in a yellowish sauce that had (I think) a hint of curry. There was a nice amount of seafood (although being a "lo carb/hi protein" person, I would have preferred more seafood and less pasta which is probably why we don't do Italian very often!) Hubby had a dish with rigatoni pasta and lamb sausage, which he enjoyed and would order again. Justagthing, do let us know what you choose when you go, and (just because I'm curious!) what do you think of the decor - just right or a little bare? I guess it doesn't mean much to some, but I do think just a little more attention to visual pleasure in surroundings can really add a lot. A bit of greenery adds a feeling of "life" especially when the rest of the decor is so subtle. Like a touch of parsley or kale adds color to an otherwise monotone plate of food!
Try Roman Cucina on PCH in Sunset Beach or Mangia Mangia on Goldenwest in the Home Expo Center or Lugatti's at (iirc) Walnut and 4th in downtown HB for good Italian. I had one of Roman Cucina's nightly specials, a shrimp and scallops in a tangy tomato sauce, which they served over vegetables (I opted for those rather than pasta).