Restaurant Reviews

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BLK Burgrz: Kobe, Or Not Kobe BLK Burgrz: Kobe, Or Not Kobe
This Ladera Ranch restaurant does Kobe-grade beef burgers right, but for a price
, January 30, 2014
There are few pleasures in life as simple as a good burger. You needn't much. Ground-beef patty sizzled to a brown crust, then tucked between... More >>
Tacos y Birria El Güero: Count On the Consommé
[Hole In the Wall] This Santa Ana restaurant specializes in goat stew and its drippings
, January 30, 2014
Even though it's just enough to fill a small Styrofoam cup, the consommé de birria at Tacos y Birria El Güero is like the Feeding of the 5,000 in... More >>
Atun Is the Warhol of Raw Fish Atun Is the Warhol of Raw Fish
This Long Beach restaurant does artful sushi and even better yakitori
, January 23, 2014
I've often likened sushi to art in these reviews. Most of the time, I wasn't being literal, but maybe I should've been. Sushi chefs—especially... More >>
Gia Hoi: As Pink As Your Palate
[Hole In the Wall] This Westminster restaurant specializes in Central Vietnamese food
, January 23, 2014
Pink. Whether you visit Gia Hoi during the morning or at night, you'll be bathed in pink. Neon pink. Pink that comes from tubes that ring the... More >>
Rick Bayless: Red O No You Didn't Rick Bayless: Red O No You Didn't
Three Weeklings look for good Mexican food at the 'authenticity' guru's new Fashion Island restaurant
, January 16, 2014
It was high noon on a sunny but brisk Newport Beach day. The Bentleys gleamed in the valet lot. I was first to arrive. Then Dave Lieberman in a... More >>
Honda-Ya Box: Costa Japan
[Hole In the Wall] This Costa Mesa restaurant is the first outpost of the Japanese pub chain to specialize in fast food
, January 16, 2014
Has anyone satisfactorily explained how Costa Mesa became such a focal point for great Japanese food? Why sushi spots are almost as common there... More >>
Bonefish Grill: No Bones About It Bonefish Grill: No Bones About It
This Tustin seafood house is owned by the same corporation as Outback Steakhouse, but it serves good food, with servers who actually give a damn
, January 09, 2014
If I told you Bonefish Grill's signature dish was called Bang Bang Shrimp, that it's battered, fried, then shellacked in a "creamy, spicy sauce,"... More >>
Seacliff Deli & Liquor: Sandwich Soliloquy
[Hole In the Wall] This Huntington Beach liquor store is out of a time warp
, January 09, 2014
I'm writing this on Dec. 30, 2013, which, due to the insanity that is holiday deadlines, you'll read no earlier than Jan. 9, 2014. The year is... More >>
Little Saigon's Café Queen Little Saigon's Café Queen
With hot drinks and even hotter girls, Natalie Nguyen is trying to uncloak the area's most enduring mystery: Vietnamese coffee shops
, January 02, 2014
Michelle and her girls should be shivering. It just rained, and the temperature is still snugly below 60 degrees even though it's 3 in the... More >>
The Empanada Maker: Meat Them! The Empanada Maker: Meat Them!
This Mission Viejo restaurant brings the Argentine pastry to South County
, January 02, 2014
I've got a soft spot for empanadas. We called them pastels in Indonesia when I was growing up, half-moon pockets of goodness complete with the... More >>
Istanbul Grill's Turn of the Turnip
[Hole In the Wall] This Fountain Valley restaurant brings Turkish food to OC
, January 02, 2014
Remember that episode of The Simpsons in which Bart and his pals meet their Shelbyville doppelgangers after the latter steal Springfield's... More >>
Where There's Smoke, There's Leadbelly's Where There's Smoke, There's Leadbelly's
This Southern-style barbecue joint in Fullerton smokes delicious meats sold for reasonable prices
, December 26, 2013
The folks at Leadbelly's finally installed the lighted sign about three weeks ago, and it doesn't say "Leadbelly's Southern-Style Barbecue,"... More >>
Pars Supermarket: Epic Iskender
[Hole In the Wall] Though geared toward Middle Eastern consumers, this Lake Forest market knows we are all bound by food
, December 26, 2013
The success of Irvine's Wholesome Choice sparked a trend of vaguely Middle Eastern supermarkets opening across OC in the past couple of years... More >>
Seoulmate Serves Pork Stew for the Seoul Seoulmate Serves Pork Stew for the Seoul
The Long Beach restaurant makes good Korean-Mexican burritos, but its best dish is pure Korean mom food
, December 19, 2013
You're a few blocks from Cal State Long Beach on Seventh Street and directly across from Woodrow Wilson High. For a moment, you consider parking... More >>
Miraflores Peruvian Express: El Charmer
[Hole In the Wall] This Westminster restaurant brings Peruvian food to an emerging South American district
, December 19, 2013
As you drive west on Westminster Avenue, past Goldenwest Street, Little Saigon fades into the background, and Westminster turns into a time warp.... More >>
Escar-GO to Oc & Lau Restaurant Escar-GO to Oc & Lau Restaurant
The wait is unforgivable, the staff inexperienced—but this Little Saigon place serves tasty snails
, December 12, 2013
Spain may have its tapas bars and Japan its izakayas, but in Vietnam, there are quán ôcs. Literal translation: snail eateries. Quán ôcs are often... More >>
Sawali Grill: Flipping Reputations
[Hole In the Wall] This Anaheim restaurant offers Filipino food in its delicious iterations
, December 12, 2013
Have I told this story before? I'm sure I have, but it's so important that I'll repeat it. There's a prominent Southern California food... More >>
Selanne Steak Tavern Is No Duck Soup Selanne Steak Tavern Is No Duck Soup
Teemu's steakhouse takes over French 75's old space in Laguna Beach
, December 05, 2013
Though its Open Table page says Selanne Steak Tavern's dress code is casual, you'd feel severely underdressed in anything less than a collared... More >>
Lanta Thai Fusion: Four Courses
[Hole In the Wall] This Orange restaurant offers a refined experience but doesn't water down the grub
, December 05, 2013
For this column, I've reviewed restaurants based out of the loading areas of grocery stores. I've written about spots in gang-infested... More >>
The Melt: So Cheesy! The Melt: So Cheesy!
This Irvine restaurant brings its grilled cheese concept to the Irvine Spectrum
, November 28, 2013
Few foods have a higher enjoyment-to-effort ratio than the grilled cheese sandwich—it's a fact as true as the sun rising in the east. As any... More >>
Tortas, Tortas, Tortas At Tortas Sinaloa!
[Hole in the Wall] This Santa Ana eatery is the best OC place to explore this Mexican-food trend
, November 28, 2013
For the past year, as I've traveled across the United States promoting my Taco USA book, I've always told the audience how to become a... More >>
Kolache Factory Is Czech-Mex Kolache Factory Is Czech-Mex
Tustin's new restaurant bakes traditional Czech pastries with fillings that are all-American
, November 21, 2013
If you're not from the Czech Republic or Texas, chances are you've never heard of kolaches. And if you've never been to those parts of the Lone... More >>
Long Hai: Beyond Little Saigon
[Hole In the Wall] This Tustin restaurant offers great Vietnamese food far from the enclave
, November 21, 2013
If you're going to go to a Vietnamese restaurant outside Little Saigon, you better have a goddamn great explanation. Don't give me the excuse of... More >>
Ways & Means' Razor Clam Blues Ways & Means' Razor Clam Blues
The Orange oyster house has a Michelin-starred chef and prices to match
, November 14, 2013
Our server at Ways & Means Oyster House was obviously new, but then so was everyone else. The restaurant had barely been open a week, and midway... More >>
Golden Bowl: Remembrance of Teriyakis Past
[Hole In the Wall] This Buena Park restaurant makes great teriyaki bowls—no more, no less
, November 14, 2013
Just had this conversation in the office: The new generation of Weeklings couldn't understand what the big fuss is regarding the expansion of... More >>
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Little La Lune: Over the Moon Little La Lune: Over the Moon

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Il Barone Bottega: Third Wave Italian

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O'Neill's Breakfast of Champagne O'Neill's Breakfast of Champagne

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Front Porch Pops: Just Lick 'Em

So . . . I'm getting married soon. I've picked some of my favorite businesses to help out with the catering—Taco Maria's Carlos Salgado and Roland Rubalcava to do aguachile… More >>

Santa Ana Revival at the North Left Santa Ana Revival at the North Left

The North Left is what replaced the Crosby, which closed abruptly earlier this year in the wake of a tragic beating death that occurred outside its doors. But for all… More >>

Tamarindo Truck: Maestro de Meats

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