I approached the new Wokcano in Tustin as I do all restaurants that operate under the catch-all description of “Asian”—with tempered expectations. But to my surprise, everything I happened to sample on my first visit was nearly flawless. I ate a briskly chilled, creamy scallop carpaccio sluiced with ponzu and a salmon skin roll that was so tightly packed with the crunchy shards of skin, you could hear me chewing on it from across the room. Most surprisingly of all were the xiao long baos. Although overpriced, these delicate bursting sacks of pork and soup might be the best juicy pork dumplings in OC—that is, if Din Tai Fung didn't already take that crown.
Feeling buoyed by what I saw and tasted, I ordered a drink that I would've never considered ordering in a place like this: an Old Fashioned, the kind of cocktail you sip with one elbow propped up on a leather chair while calling your secretary “doll” on the office intercom. But it, too, was surprisingly well done. The main components were a Japanese whiskey called Iwai and Laird's, an all-American apple brandy. There was also Indian chai in it, and an orange peel, but they were in the background. Instead, the first sip numbed my tongue as though it was covered in fur—a testament to its potency and the ice that was shaped into a ball to delay dilution.
Wokcano, 3015 El Camino Real, Tustin, (714) 508-4411