Elephant Bar (Irvine CA)
I had only eaten at the Elephant Bar once before and don't have any memorable recall; but I had dinner there Saturday and it was excellent.
I had the sweet/spicy Thai Salad; one nephew had the macadamia crusted mahi mahi and the other nephew had ahi.
They also had desserts; one had citrus brulee in a pool or raspberry coulis and the other had warm apple/blueberry cobbler.
Even the coffee was delicious.
I have to agree. They opened one near us (Dublin, CA) about a year ago and we were pleasantly surprised. I like the fact that they have some healthier options on the menu and also that the portions are not outrageously huge. I am a particular fan of their seared salmon with veggies and brown rice. Everything very fresh tasting. I also like the way they send out a little shot of their soup of the day. I don't normally order soup before dinner but I do enjoy a small taste. I also like the choices of smaller portions of desserts. It's great when you just want a taste of something sweet.
Whatever they did to regenerate the Elephant Bar has apparently worked. We used to go to the one in Santa Barbara (when our son was at UCSB) and Laguna Hills (which is near our home) but stopped several years ago because it was just, well........ bleh!
But my wife's been to the new one in Laguna Hills Mall a couple of times and said it was VERY different and VERY good for a chain place. Nothing like it's past incarnation.