The toughest thing about lunch isn't the 'where', it's the 'how'. How can we eat a quality meal in an hour or less? Leave it to one of our favorite new restaurants to present a solution. Drop by Mix Mix Kitchen Bar in Downtown Santa Ana as they kick off their pop-up lunch service (Orange County Restaurant Week was merely a test run) beginning Tuesday, March 21. An end date will be based on how diners respond to the new menu.
Introducing a "Mix Box Kitchen" concept, lunch will consist of three courses, plated side-by-side, for a fixed price of $15. Not only does this eliminate the sometimes awkward division of a lunch check, but diners aren't anxiously waiting for the next course. Chef Ross considers this his vision of a modern bento box, as he showed us photos when we dropped in for OCRW lunch a week ago. We know what you're thinking— Are there enough options to choose from? The short answer is "Yes!"
For the long answer, we are ready to break it down for you. On every dish served, there will be a salad, main and snack plated together; a number of them are featured on the dinner menu. Each course includes five possible options. For example, the salad course is your choice of one of the following: Caesar; Green, with blue cheese, walnuts and green goddess dressing); Farro in a lemon-herb dressing; Gem with pomegranate vinaigrette; and Moroccan Carrot Salad.
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Moving on to main courses, it's an eclectic selection of tastes:
- Korean Marinated Grilled Chicken over kimchi fried rice
- Miso Salmon atop soy-ginger soba noodles
- Pork Cheek Adobo over garlic rice and chimichurri
- House Made "Carbonara" incorporating guanciale and Parmesan
- Stir-Fried Tofu over market vegetables and a garlic-ginger sauce.
Finally, we have your snack course. Good before, after or during any other course, we're talking big (sometimes crunchy) flavors. We spy some Chorizo Potato Croquettes; an Albacore Tostada, with avocado and Sriracha; Roasted Cauliflower; Roasted Trumpet Mushrooms and gremolata; and Mix Mix's Tuna Poke "Nachos" a.k.a. chicharrones with seaweed and avocado sauce.
If that wasn't a solid pitch for you to finally sit down at Mix Mix on a Tuesday through Friday, then call ahead and request it to-go. Yeah, they're allowing that, too. Now if only cocktails could be transported back to the office.
Mix Mix Kitchen Bar, 300 N Main St, Santa Ana, (714) 836-5158; www.mixmixkitchenbar.com.