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Santa Ana need rec

Meeting someone in Santa Ana for early dinner on Sunday. He is staying at the Holiday Inn @2726 Grand. I have no clue what might be in the area. No Mexican food please and the price should be under $25.00 per person plus tax and tip.

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  1. There are lots of good reasonably prices Asian options over at Diamond Jamboree. Go across the 55 on Dyer (turns into Barranca), make a right on Jamboree and right on Alton.

    Capital Seafood - best dim sum in Irvine
    BCD Tofu - Korean soon tofu
    Urban Seoul - Asian influenced tacos, quesadillas, bowls and such - similar to Kogi
    Chef Hung Noodles - good spicy beef noodle soup

    In the other direction towards the mall I would recommend Ritter's Steam Kettle. Its southern cajun style food with good gumbo, jambalaya and pan roast.

    2 Replies
    1. re: js76wisco

      i really want to hit up ritter's steam kettle but haven't gotten around to it just yet.

      1. re: kevin

        The pan roast is your best bet. I liked the bacon wrapped fried shrimp.

    2. Hmm

      maybe Lola Gaspar.

      1. For outrageously good lobster and other vietnamese fare within your budget try

        Tan Cang Newport Seafood

        4411 W 1st St
        Santa Ana, CA 92703
        (714) 531-5146

        14 Replies
        1. re: jessejames

          1 lobster runs about $50-75 since there isn't anything under 5-lbs.

          They are delicious though.

          1. re: Porthos

            If they split one lobster and nothing else then they are good to go.

            Interestingly enough, I have never visited the Santa Ana location of Newport Seafood. How does it compare to the one in San Gabriel ???????

            1. re: kevin

              Split lobster which was 4 or 3.5 lbs there a few weeks ago, pea tendril sprouts and rice and free beef broth with bones for 2 and about 50

              Compares well on lobster if U ask me. I haven't had much else there.

              1. re: jessejames

                That's usually what I order but I add the French style beef.

                I like the recommendation. Just not sure how strict the $50pp with tax and tip limit is.

                I like it better than the San Gabriel branch. I thought the Rowland Heights branch was the best but I haven't been that way since the remodel.

                1. re: Porthos

                  what's the french style beef? the cubes on the salad thing? i saw some nice stews being consumed by older asian men with french bread too, looked great....just hard to get away from that lobster!

                  1. re: jessejames

                    Beef lo lac: filet mignu medallions in a cognac peppercorn sauce.

                    1. re: jessejames

                      No one said get away from the lobster! ;) You can also request your lobster to be served over noodles.

                      Yes it's the beef cubes thing, bo luc lac.

                      I've seen that stew before.
                      I think it's Vietnamese beef stew with onions, tomatoes, carrots, and potatoes.

                      1. re: Porthos

                        Good call on noodles didn't know that. That sauce or whatever can't be wasted.

                        1. re: Porthos

                          you know, i forgot sometimes we get the fried squid there which is really excellent, very crispy and with jalapenos.

                  2. re: kevin

                    I have it on good authority that the Newport Seafood (Tan Cang) in Santa Ana was started by a manager/cofounder who left the original SG location and started the one in Santa Ana. In that regard it's considered a knockoff and I believe the only true Newport Seafoods are San Gabriel and Rowland Heights.

                    My only experience there at the Santa Ana location was over 5 years ago and while I didn't have any beef luc lac or lobster, the food I did have was under-seasoned and having a moldy pair of bamboo chopsticks definitely stuck in my memory

                    1. re: Xan7hos

                      Yeah, that is definitely not the case in my experience. The SGV branch was easily the blandest prep.

                      1. re: Xan7hos

                        Just so were on the same page...that makes the SGV one 25+ years old?

                        1. re: ns1

                          Not sure when Newport San Gabriel opened but I started eating there when I was still in elementary school. Still my favorite place for kung pao chicken.

                          1. re: Xan7hos

                            Update-Of all places we ended up at OUTBACK. They had the gluten free menu for my cousin so he wanted to go there. We all had steaks that were great and the usual sides. I was dissapointed when we drove past Sam Woo's because nobody else would go there and it's on my bucket list. The trip is 78 miles for me so I don't know when I will get back that way. Thanks for the rec's guys!

                2. North or South Grand? If north you are just a smidgen south of Orange and the downtown / Old Town area has some excellent places right on Glassel (Grand's name change) - Haven Gastropub for one, you said no Mexican, but Gabbi's right across the street is gourmet and subtle Mexican. And just a nice walk around the area would provide you with more possiblities.

                  1 Reply
                  1. Is this a casual dinner with someone who doesn't mind hole in the wall, or do you want something a little nicer?

                    You're close to the South Coast Plaza area. In that area, what comes to mind are either hole in the wall joints or places that are way above your $25 / pp request.

                    You're also not far from Costa Mesa. Near Brisol & Baker, you have ecco for pizza & pastas, which you can eke out at $25 / pp if you stay away from cocktails.

                    Old Vine would be nice too, but it's above your price point.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Professor Salt

                      There's that pizza joint on 19th but the name escapes me.

                      1. re: kevin

                        Il Dolce. Between the two, I prefer ecco.

                      2. re: Professor Salt

                        Sorry, I just saw this post. Casual is fine.

                      3. If you like Korean BBQ there is Gen off of Newport Ave near 1st St. It is in Tustin but close to Santa Ana.

                        1. The new C4 deli is only a few miles away:

                          It's by the Playground guys, and is a lot cheaper. But ultimately, it's just a sandwich/beer place, I guess.

                          1. Capital Grille in nearby Costa Mesa/South Coast Plaza is currently offering a glass of Silver Oak cab and egg-topped wagyu burger with truffle fries for $25 in their bar.

                            There's also Pizzeria Ortica also in Costa Mesa: http://www.pizzeriaortica.com/menus/

                            Umami Burger: http://www.umami.com/umami-burger/eat...

                            1. Ritter's Steam Kettle Cooking is close by, very good, reasonably priced and not even vaguely Mexican, cuisine-wise.

                              As others have said, the pan-roast is the way to go, but be sure and check out some of the other dishes as well.


                              16 Replies
                              1. re: mikester

                                I'm going to have to go real soon.

                                1. re: mikester

                                  Thanks for the heads up. Work down the street and have never noticed it!

                                  How are the po'boys?

                                  1. re: Porthos

                                    The bread is actually pretty good but never had the po boy. My friend said catfish is the way to go over the other fried options.

                                    The portions are huge. The pan roast comes with either white rice or noodles. For lunch you can easily order 1 pan roast and split with one other person.

                                    1. re: js76wisco

                                      Do you know if they've started serving alcohol?

                                      1. re: js76wisco

                                        Just got back from Ritter's. Oyster po'boy is good, large fried oysters with lettuce, tomato, and onion/celery relish. Tasty.

                                        House gumbo was very good. Large shrimp, fish, crab meat. Nice green okra. Not too heavy actually. Monster portion. We were asked how spicy, 1-10 and picked 6. Level 6 has a decent amount of heat to it. Not uncomfortably so but not mild either.

                                        Looking forward to returning and trying the pan roast and étouffée.

                                        1. re: Porthos

                                          Did you happen to notice if they were serving alcohol yet?

                                          1. re: JAB

                                            No alcohol. Sign was up in front.

                                          2. re: Porthos

                                            Is it an all seafood gumbo, Mr. Porthos ????

                                                1. re: Porthos

                                                  I'll hit up the étouffée and the oyster po boy as a nice little dinner for myself.

                                                  Any clue if there is an open kitchen with bar or counter seats for flying solo on this one ??????

                                                  Thanks buddy.

                                                  First off, shunji's for white truffle season and some of that gohan.

                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                    Yes, open kitchen and bar seating. Nice atmosphere, easy parking.

                                                    1. re: Ginger Wolf

                                                      Ok, I will try it out real soon. Hopefully within the next week.

                                        2. re: mikester

                                          So I tried this place and here's my take:

                                          I got the pan roast and the jambalaya. Short version verdict: both edible but not great, wouldn't go back for either of these dishes, but will go back to try the po boys and maybe a gumbo or etouffe.

                                          The pan roast is described as a tomato cream sauce and it's just that. It's a little boring after only a short time eating it. I actually took the leftovers and reheated them on the stove and added some curry powder to make it into a tikka masala. That's basically what the pan roast is: a tikka masala with seafood and no indian spices. I got bored with it.

                                          The jambalaya was ok. The first thing that hit me was the overwhelming smell of cloves. Fortunately the taste didn't reflect this as much, but I still didn't like the dish overall. It was a little too wet and the rice grains weren't cooked properly. They were a little hard. The shrimp was overcooked. It was actually better than I'm making it sound but it was very rough around the edges, bordering on being a mess.

                                          Like I said, I'd go back for a po boy (which is a much cheaper option than the two things I got) or I'd give their gumbo/etouffee a try. I cannot recommend the pan roast or the jambalaya.

                                          Oh one more thing I have to add: The girl who rang me up was, without a doubt, the most beautiful, sexiest woman I've ever seen in my life. Honestly, it's worth going just to see her.

                                          1. re: Eater15

                                            I guess I will go just to see her.

                                            That's endorsement enough.

                                            1. re: Eater15

                                              What was her name and or what hours worked ?

                                          2. It may not be as close or classy as you are looking for, but I can't even think of going anywhere in that vicinity except Vientiane in Garden Grove. That place haunts me, we had such a great meal.

                                            You could both have a couple of Beerlao's, and cover your table with incredible Thai and Lao dishes, and easily fit your budget. It would probably only take 10 minutes of travel on a Sunday late afternoon.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: DWB

                                              Easily a top 3 food destination in Orange County.