Saturday, March 6, 2010

AnQi by Crustacean - Costa Mesa

Charlie Palmer has a new neighbor! The An Family brings AnQi to South Coast Plaza. You can see the sign as you're driving on the 405, and that's about all the advertisement I need. New Restaurant = Must Try.

Friend Adrienne needed a few things at South Coast Plaza, so we decided to hit up AnQi for a power lunch before the shopping began. Although I'm always a little skeptical of those "Restaurant Week" pre-fixe menus, we decided to give it a try ($20/lunch & $40/dinner).

The first course was set, Roasted Corn Soup with Chicken and Avocado. When I think of corn soup, I generally think of thick corn chowder, but this soup was much thinner without a hint of cream. Good for the waistline, and as it turns out, good for the taste buds. I think you'll be surprised by the strong corn flavor though - like you're really eating corn on the cob. I was happy with the amount of avocado pieces and the quality of the chicken. They don't throw those icky, leftover pieces of chicken in the soup. Nope, you can see it's shredded, all white-meat, grilled chicken breast. Off the pre-fixe menu, this soup portion is a bit bigger and it'll cost you $9.

Roasted Corn Soup with Chicken and Avocado

For drinks, Friend Adrienne ordered a Molecular Mary, AnQi's take on a Bloody Mary. It's half the price of the other drinks on their menu, and that's because it's more of a shot. Beautiful looking, with clear tomato vodka, tabasco infused celery, and two watermelon "marbles." Friend Adrienne doesn't like watermelon, but I was really hoping she'd love it when paired with this such luck. It's the texture she doesn't enjoy. I wanted her to order all of the drinks on their cocktail menu because they were all so appealing to me. It's the first time I've felt left out the cocktail scene since having this baby in the belly. My bubbly club soda had to suffice for now.

Molecular Mary

There were four choices for course number two. Friend Adrienne and I both choose An's Famous Garlic Noodles with Grilled Beef Sirloin. I was impressed by the taste and tenderness of the beef, and I ate every bite. The garlic noodles, however, did not impress. I hate to say, but I'm going to compare the flavor to ... RAMEN! It was definitely a higher quality than those 33 cent packets, but I don't see anything truly special about them. I wasn't as disappointed as you might think, it was way better than our lunch yesterday at the Rooftop Lounge in Laguna Beach (but that's another story, bless their hearts).

Garlic Noodles with Grilled Beef Sirloin

Other second course offerings: Roasted Wild King Salmon in a citrus reduction and Asian pesto, Chicken Caesar Wrap with wontons crips and poblano parmesan, or the Vegetable Delight served with organic tofu, asparagus, shiitake mushroom, green beans, and oyster mushrooms served with jasmine rice. I'm kinda wishing I would have gotten the Vegetable Delight now, but noodles just sounded too good to pass up at the time.

The dessert course was Molecular Cheesecake. I am a huge fan of molecular food creations and technology, so I was excited to see how the cheesecake would be presented. Apparently the kitchen uses a special machine to puff these little bites out. Light and fluffy, it tasted like a cream cheese marshmallow. Two balls of cheesecake rolled in a cinnamon graham cracker dust were served with of three of the yummiest blueberries. I was content with the two, but you'll get three if you order from their regular menu.

Molecular Cheesecake

I wasn't blown away by AnQi, but I enjoyed the experience overall. I liked the vibe of the restaurant, appreciated the service and demeanor of our waiter, and the food flavors and presentation had more pluses than minuses. I'd go back - not only for their cocktails - but to experience their regular menu too!

AnQi by Crustacean
South Coast Plaza, Bloomingdale's
3333 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

AnQi on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I can see in here there are excellent ideas in order to put them into practice, I could see delicious recipes and also cocktails I had never seen, I'm gonna prepare some of those cocktails at home.