Restaurants & Bars 1

Taleo OC

OCMutt | May 3, 2006 01:50 PM

Had dinner at Taleo in Irvine this Saturday night. It's a very interesting concept - upscale Mexican cuisine and certainly an upscale atmosphere, yet the menu is still something most fans of Mexican can relate to. First, we started out with the Queso Fundito (the Spinach and Mushroom version which for some reason is not on the menu). The home made chips are special and the "Fundito" which I interpret is either a made up name Mexicanizing "fondu" or, well, a Mexcican version of it. It was really quite delicious. The Mushrooms perfumed the white cheese (was there a hint of gruyere?) sauce and the spinach added just enough to make it a very deep flavor. Combined with the chips and their salsa (they bring you two versions, I prefer the hotter of the two) make this something worth repeating - if you don't mind gaining 10 lbs. just from an appetizer of course. My date had the Taleo Salad with Salmon. The Salmon was perfectly cooking and piping hot - which is always impressive yet rarely acheived. I had the Carnitas upon the recommendation of our waitress. Carnitas is prepared in the traditional Mexican style, which means that to my surprise a big hunk of pork arrived on my plate. The pork was moist, sweet, caramelized, and delicious. The tortillas were velvety and the beans on the side were bursting with flavor. However, I'm going to say "tradition-shmishion". I think the pork would've been much better in little chunks for several reasons - 1, more of the sweet carameliztion would've been distributed throughout and let's face it, that's the selling point here, 2, the fat and connective tissue are gross, and 3, it's really difficult to deal with from a utensil standpoint. Trying to "pull" the pork myself and make surgical cuts around the gross parts was too much work, not to mention the added anxiety that if I "pulled" too hard a piece of pork or worse, pork gristle would end up flying into my dates face! Next time I'm trying the Carne Asada made with Prime NY Strip steak, and yes, there will be a next time. I really liked the place. Oh, and funny side note for the wine snobs out there, the waitress described a type of unknown wine variety to my date as having 85% of a certain kind of "berry" in it blended with the other "regular wine berries". I imagine with a bit of admitted glee that the Sideways crowd would lose their minds over this unsophisticated lowbrow attrocity and demand that she be arrested and flogged by the wine police! I could not care less. For the record, our server said that my date could try the wine and if she didn't like it, could send it back. She didn't like it, they took it back and gave her another glass without blinking an eye. Good enough for me!

Link: http://www.taleomexicangrill.com/

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