One spot our food blog team has nothing but love for remains below the El Toro Y. Break of Dawn shifted spaces within Oakbrook Village Shopping Center, returning from a three month and 15 day hiatus on Father's Day. I crawled out of bed Sunday morning to join a baker, his lovely wife and their crew of restaurant owners for brunch.
What's changed? Nothing and everything. The menu is as memorable as ever, with Nguyen sporting a Costa Mesa police cap as he preps for incoming diners who learned of his reopening the old-fashioned way-- by paying attention to their friends' Facebook feeds. The space, on the other hand, has evolved.
Additional seating is the biggest change diners will notice as they approach. From the church pew waiting area to his generous patio with communal table, the expansion is a welcome one. Those seated inside are treated to graffiti artwork discreetly labeled Ekura - Wram. Broken down pallets bring a whole new meaning to shabby chic decor, while repurposed sewing machine tables are now four tops that double as conversation pieces.
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Nguyen's newest menu item is a together-at-last combination of delightful pork belly and signature tempura fried eggs, aptly referred to as bacon and eggs. A few more entrees are in the works, including his version of shrimp and grits. I did notice a few items absent from our menu, but that meant it was time to try something else. My new favorite (but only new to me) is their bison and sweet black rice. The infamous French toast is as sweet as ever, and just about everything is tastier with a dab of scorpion chile sauce.
Why did we post Tuesday if he reopened Sunday? Maybe because we didn't want as long of a wait? Or maybe as a reminder that they are CLOSED Monday and Tuesdays (unless Dee gets his way and closes Wednesdays in the future . . .not). Stop reading and start making plans already! Break of Dawn is back.