I have so many restaurants waiting for SAFII reviews that sometimes I lag and get beat. That's what happened this Thursday, when the Orange County Register gave a thumb's-up to Matador Cantina in Fullerton. I visited about a month and a half ago, and don't necessarily disagree with writer Lori Basheda's review (although her use of mock Spanish in writing that "the queso was gone-o" was weak and no doubt red meat to the Reg's Know Nothing readers). Indeed, it seems that, judging by her description of the chorizo ravioli's sauce ("light and creamy with just the right amount of spice"), the Matador's owners took my advice.
When I visited, my friend made the stupid mistake of outing me as the Weekly's food editor. Thank God I had already paid for my meal, because the nice man would've probably comped me (he offered tequila; I declined). He asked me what I thought, and I remember giving kudos to the queso fundido but dismissing the salsa. But I was focused on that chorizo ravioli. Why hadn't I seen this before in a local restaurant? Soft shell, spicy pork, a lot of them whereas most ravioli dishes skim on the fat pasta, I hadn't tasted Mexican fusion this promising since my mom prepared fettucine Alfredo with jalapeños. Only one problem: the sauce. Too thick, too choking, not distinctive. I couldn't finish the dish as much as I wanted to, so overwhelming that sauce was.
I told the Matador owner (who's name escapes me right now) that he needed to fix that dish, make the sauce light to allow the actual ravioli to come forth. He assured me they would, and now, it seems their word is true. But go check it out yourself. I see promise in this place--let's just hope a bunch of drunk Cal State Fullerton grads and the Anaheim High School Classes of 1996-2003 aren't vomiting outside to mess it up.
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Matador Cantina, 111 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton (714) 871-8226; www.thematador.com.