Lizarrán Tapas Worth Every Small Bite

I had a book signing a couple of weeks ago at Hibbleton Gallery, a great little art space in downtown Fullerton, but there was a problem--I arrived at 6:30, thinking my reading was scheduled for 7 p.m., when in fact it was an hour later. Famished, I asked one of the gallery guys, Jesse La Tour, about a nearby pizza place on my Hole-in-the-Wall Life list. His scrunched face was as necessary a food review as I needed. "What about Lizarrán?", milady inquired, and the three of us began walking.

The idea of tapas--small plates, each offering different flavors--has never particularly appealed to me. If I wanted bite-sized morsels, I go eat tacos; a buffet, I head off to Dosa Place's stunning lunchtime serenade. But my gal had visited before, and Edwin gave Lizarrán a glowing review way back when, so the idea of Lizarrán didn't immediately offend me. Nearly no one was there, however, when we sat--not good for a kinda-new restaurant in this economic environment.

Under that spirit, we hogged out. I can't remember the small plates I choose, being that the distance of time and a wine-pickled brain does wonders with memory. I do remember the ritual--to get cold tapas, eaters went to the back of a restaurant, where a disinterested man handed you a plate; warm tapas arrived via a perky young lady who described each plate in detail. Those were better--I remember different chorizos, cheeses, and other veggies--but I did like the cold ones save a selection with anchovies, only because I forgot how damn salty those critters are. The lady handed us a menu, and I might go back just to try some of the actual platters (we did munch down a glorious Spanish tortilla fast), but casual diners can do well with the small bites. If you find yourself in Fullerton with a hankering for a small meal, screw Taqueria de Anda and head east, young man. Besides, you're better off dealing with drunks than cholos.

Lizarran Tapas, 310 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 879-9009;


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