After waiting in line for lunch at Arnies Manhattan Deli, just to be told that the hostess was going to stop seating people to let the waitresses catch-up, I decided that a quick lunch was not to be had, so I turned high tail and left.
I found myself walking by Tapas restaurant in the same center with Arnies, the Pleasant Peasant, and a Korean BBQ place. Tapas That sounded good.
I went in, and was immediately seated in the nearly empty restaurant. It became abundantly clear that this was a fusion tapas restaurant, as there were burritos, spaghetti, and a bunch of other non-Spanish stuff on the menu.
I asked the waiter what was better, the Spanish meat and cheese platter (chorizo, Serrano and manchego), or the lamb empanada. Without hesitation, he said the empanada, so there was my order. I also asked if they had lemonade. He assured me they did, and brought me what tasted like Mountain Dew.
Two young men sat down at the next table, and began discussing their wedding. The waiter/host/manager brought some warm bread and a bowl of aioli. I watched the football game in the bar, and soon the meal arrived.
The empanada was triangular in shape, and between the most distant points was about 3-4 inches. It was stuffed pretty full, but not a huge amount of food. It was served with a deep-fried mashed potato ball, with the same aioli as was served with the bread drizzled on top, and some overly steamed and very salty broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.
Under the empanada were two sauces, a marinara (?!) sauce, and a nice brown gravy. The marinara sauce basically ruined the flavor of the empanada. The stuffing was well seasoned, and quite tasty, but that sauce had such a different flavor palate that it must have been a mistake.
The potato ball was a little tough, and had a funny flavor to it. I really liked the stuffing of the empanada, and enjoyed the brown sauce on it. I finished my lemonade/Mountain Dew, and had a look around. The restaurant is huge. It would probably be a great place for a party. I suspect, as with other things I have read about Spanish food / Tapas around So. Cal, you really have to know what the restaurants good dishes are in order to have a good meal.
I may go back once to test my theory. Any suggestions?
4253 Martingale Way
Newport Beach, CA