Taps is the kind of restaurant that’s managed to stay beneath the radar—maybe because it superficially resembles an Olive Garden or Outback Steakhouse-type restaurant. That is, The Dreaded Chain. Although portions are Middle America-hefty, you’re getting quality fare here, says Das Ubergeek.

Take the crab-and-shrimp Louie salad: it’s $21, but perhaps the largest of its kind. Like, bigger than your head. Tons of Dungeness crab and a dozen shrimp, dressed just right but with a pitcher of extra dressing just in case.

As for cedar-plank salmon with horseradish mashed potatoes and broccolini with 12-year-old balsamic vinegar, the Ubergeek is first a doubter, then a convert. “Every restaurant, all the way down to Carl’s Jr., has embraced ‘balsamic’ vinaigrette, and 99 times out of 100, that ‘balsamic’ vinegar has never been within 5,000 kilometres of a wood barrel in Italy and is, in point of fact, white vinegar with molasses or coloured sugar.” This, however, is the real thing—drizzled over the barely crunchy members of the greater broccoli family, it kills their distinctive smell and transforms them completely. The potatoes are perfectly mashed, though you don’t get much horseradish in there. Salmon, a skinless filet, is moist and flaky.

For dessert, the Bing cherry crostata is good but the chocolate souffle is downright fantastic.

Although most entrees are in the $20 range, there are some deals floating around, like Prime Time Sundays: prime rib, Caesar salad, creamed spinach/corn, and bananas Foster for less than $25, says WHills. Happy hour features half-price appetizers, and the brunch with free-flowing champagne/mimosas is popular.

Taps Fish House & Brewery [OC]
101 E. Imperial Highway, Brea

Board Links: Three cheers for Taps!

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