100 Favorite OC Dishes, #12: Chicken Schnitzel at Ironwood

100 Favorite OC Dishes, #12: Chicken Schnitzel at Ironwood
Brian Feinzimer

I did a double-take when the Jidori chicken schnitzel at Ironwood landed on our table with a thud. It's covered end-to-end in golden-brown breading and has a surface area so large you could pick it up and wear it as a scarf. "Do chickens have breasts this wide or this flat?" I asked my dining companion.

We tried to imagine what kind of reverse origami the kitchen staff did to accomplish it. I determined it was butterflied at least twice and involved a light pounding with a mallet. Whatever it was, the result was a masterpiece: the perfect ratio of crispy breadcrumb to moist meat in every bite—as good as a piece of white meat chicken could ever be.

At first, I set out to eat only half of it. But I realized when I was done with the first half that I needed to finish the second. The crispness wouldn't survive the trip home. At least that's what I told myself. Before long, I licked the plate clean. For something that should've been as heavy as a piece of deep-fried, county-fair decadence, it was extraordinarily light. Perhaps it had something to do with the veritable farmers' market worth of vegetables also on the plate: the romanesco with its Fibonacci spirals, the glistening pearl onions, the earthy mushrooms. Or maybe it's because the starch in the curiously chewy nubs of spaetzle answered the acres and acres of protein nicely. I decided it was the sauce—a preserved-lemon-and-basil emulsion—the chefs spooned atop parts of the chicken. I left no trace of it on the plate. I squeegeed every drop.

The List:

13. Meatloaf En Croute at Grits Fullerton 
14. Lunch Special at Two Brothers Pizza 
15. Banh Cuon Thit Nuong at Banh Cuon Luu Luyen 
16. Shrimp Quesadilla at Taco Maria 
17. Chihuahua at Mercado Modern Cuisine 
18. Msabaha at Ishtar Mediterranean Grill 
19. Causa (Peruvian Chicken Salad) at Inka Cantina 
20. Jajangmyeon at Beijing Wok & Grill 
21. Spicy Raw Shrimp at Royal King Elephant
22. Stuffed Croissants at Blackmarket Bakery DTSA 
23. Lobster Elote at Dos Chinos 
24. Garlic Noodles at the Kickin' Crab
25. Fish Tacos at Anepalco
26. Sauteed Shrimp at Cafe Hiro 
27. Uncle Lou's Fried Chicken at Playground 
28. Bo Ssam at Mountain 
29. Bentos at Tenkatori 
30. Pork Belly Bites at Coastal Kitchen 
31. Pizza Omelet at Old Vine Cafe 
32. Gorgonzola Bacon Burger at Zov's
33. Falafel Taco at Falasophy 
34. $10.95 Lunch Special at Istanbul Grill 
35. Aporreadillo at El Picante 
36: The Big Mike at C4 Deli 
37. Crab Jalapeños from Carmelita's Kitchen 
38. Combo Plate at Punjabi Tandoor 
39. Crepe Cakes at TeaArias 
40. Bacon and Eggs at Break of Dawn
41. Combo Platter from The Halal Guys 
42. Sunflower Salad from PIE-NOT 
43. Watermelon Salad from Barley Forge Brewing Company 
44. Breakfast Burrito from Pedro's Tacos 
45. Salmon Toast from Haven Gastropub 
46. Croque Madame Sandwich at Café Beau Soleil 
47. Dean's Thai Curry Chicken Pizza 
48. Aguas Frescas at Mar and Terra
49. Bocatas at Olé! Spain Delishop 
50. Pan Con Pollo at El Divino Salvador Del Mundo 
51. Tacos al Vapor at Tito's La Especial 
52. Knafeh at Knafeh Cafe 
53. Yakiudon Nikkei at Aji Limon
54. Yakitori at Electric City Butcher
55. Tsukemen at Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai 
56. Ten Zaru Soba at Tanakaya 
57. Pink Cloud Sandwich at Alicia's Cookery 
58. Homemade Super Nachos at Taqueria Los Santos
59. Strawberry Banana Croissant at Cream Pan 
60. Pla Duk Phat Phet at Vientiane Thai Laos Restaurant 
61. Risotto Con Burrata at Taverna 
62. Pineapple Float at Jollibee 
63. Szechuan Fries at Wok N Tandoor 
64. Banh Xeo at Quan Mii 
65. Chanko Nabe at Torizo 
66. Hamshuka from Hummus Bowl 
67. The Reuben at A Market 
68. Everything Cake from Slice Deli And Cakery 
69. Spicy Shrimp And Eggplant from Brio Tuscan Grille
70. Crawfish Mac & Cheese from The Wharf
71. Malasadas from Dough Doughs Hawaiian Cafe 
72. Salsas from Salsa Bandolera 
73. Chorizo Breakfast Bagel at Spigas Bakery and Cafe 
74. Whole Chicken Combo at Falafelo  
75. Toothpick Lamb at Sichuan Impression 
76. Hainan Chicken Rice at Baos Hog 
77. Fruit- and Ice Cream-Topped Waffles at Crave 
78. Garlic Shrimp Poke at Costco 
79. Chimichurri Fries at Piaggo on Wheels 
80. Torta Cubana at Cancun Juice 
81. Adobo Bowl at Irenia 
82. Garlic Noodles at Krave Asian Fusion 
83. Broccolini at SeaSalt WoodFire Grill 
84. Spicy Tuna Roll at Yard House 
85. Amber Roll at Orange Roll and Sushi 
86. Frito Chili Cheeseburger at Burger Parlor 
87. Maui Sunrise at The Original Banzai Bowls 
88. Meals from The Performance Kitchen 
89. Pizza-Sized Quesadilla at Los Sanchez
90. Filipino Brunch at EATS Kitchen And Bar
91. Mexican Chocolate at the Pie Hole 
92. Biscuits at James Republic 
93. Mushroom Flatbread with Kale and Kumquat Salad at Lemonade 
94. Mexican-Style Gelatins from Santa Ana's Gelatina Goddess 
95. Hot Pastrami Caesar Salad at Bruxie
96. Jalapeño Pupusas at Las Cazuelas
97. Meatball Sliders at Fresh Brothers
98. Buffalo Cauliflower at Mead's Green Door Cafe
99. Raindrop Cake at Sunmerry Bakery
100. Doughrito at Surfin' Donuts

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Ironwood

25250 La Paz Rd.
Laguna Hills, CA 92653

949-446-8772

www.ironwoodlagunahills.com


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