EATS Kitchen & Bar @ Hotel Irvine- Flavor is the Name of the Game
by Jake Conlee
I have nothing but positives to report. I am not a fussy eater, and had been made aware of EATS Kitchen & Bar before staying at Hotel Irvine. Declining a dinner menu, we instead opted for the chef to visit with us and have a quick chat about dinner selections. Executive Chef Jason came out to greet us at the table. Being a bit on the adventurous side with our palettes, the only parameters were that we were looking for something a little lighter. Try this the next time you go to a nice restaurant; not only will you have a dining experience that you’ll always remember, you will make the chef’s day. At EATS Kitchen & Bar, this will not break the bank and offer a culinary journey to never forget. This means that the chefs can riff and let their kitchen creativity run amok. This is what you want.
The term Gastropub is gaining in popularity and infringing on the cusp of passé, but what Chef Jason is doing with fresh ingredients, complex flavor combinations and finesse are real and incredibly delicious. Fresh and locally sourced ingredients meet comfort food implementation. Familiar dishes with a delicate finesse and incredible attention to detail.
Tasmanian Sea Trout
When was the last time you had Tasmanian Sea Trout with Beluga Lentils and cara-cara orange beurre monte? With crispy skin, delicate and flaky fish melts in the mouth, with the orange beurre adding a nice kick, the lentils a hearty texture.
Steak on a salad? why yes, please. Chimichurri Sirloin that absolutely is the most tender ever, fresh artisan greens, roasted cherry tomatoes ciabatta croutons with a sundried tomato and basil vinaigrette is just magnificent.
Quite possibly the best incantation of asparagus and bacon can be found here as well. Applewood cured bacon, a special umami sauce and perfectly al dente asparagus are married together on a skewer in a harmonious love on a stick.
The ridiculously cheaply priced desserts are every bit as impressive. The strawberry tart is a deconstructed strawberry shortcake. Strewn upon a plate are white chocolate anglaise, strawberry mousse, fresh strawberries and shortbread chunks. If you have the guts, ask Chef Jason for his special dessert and you will get something that I am not allowed to discuss here.
If EATS Kitchen & Bar were a standalone restaurant, it is my firm belief that it would be a resounding success. I don’t want the stigma of being a hotel restaurant to weigh this true dining gem down. Great hotel, great restaurant and even greater menu. Incredibly reasonable pricing meets top-notch food quality and flavors. EATS Kitchen & Bar is very deserving of this review and I hope to see it gain the recognition it greatly deserves.