With a formal grand opening on Black Friday, we took the opportunity to hit up Mix Mix Kitchen Bar during their inaugural brunch and soft opening to check out the goods. The photos speak for themselves, like the pasta dish above that was being rolled when we first arrived. Let our commentary act as your unofficial guide.
Whether we're ordering a shareable smaller course or a hearty main, one of Chef Ross Pangilinan's culinary skills lies in the ability to not only create flavorful dishes, but make them visually appealing as well. Here, yellow fin tuna, coconut lime, avocado, pork cracklings and Thai chili assemble for a colorful palette and blend of textures in this ceviche.
One of three multi-course options, the six-course “Oui Chef” tasting menu ($75) takes place only at the expanded counter, with a full view of the kitchen. Ross personally describes each course as it's being served to the six diners. As seen above, he may even conduct the final steps in front of guests, adding to the interactive ambiance (and making for prime social media opportunities).
Properly cooked hanger steak will likely be a mainstay on the dinner menu, complete with his take on creamy mashed potatoes and a drizzle of peppercorn sauce. That dark blob towards the top: shallot marmalade plated by sous chef Donald Harris. When you consider that this was course five of six, portion size is more than reasonable.
Seen on both brunch and dinner menus, chef's signature version of the sweet Filipino dessert is described as a tropical verrine ($8); think dressed up variation of halo halo. Containing lychee, coconut and passion fruit flavors, a subtle crunch of macadamia nuts finishes your meal— no iced tea spoon required!
Mix Mix Kitchen Bar is located at 300 N Main St in Santa Ana, (714) 836-5158; www.mixmixkitchenbar.com. Dinner service Tuesday through Saturday, with brunch on Sunday.