Heroes and Legends
22741 Lambert St.
Lake Forest, CA 92630
This place had a familiar feel to it. You know the kind of feeling that you get when walking into your old elementary school, or maybe a former workplace. This place felt pretty much like the Heroes in Fullerton and Riverside right down to the peanut shells littering the floor, but it's almost like they didn't want to advertise the connection between these places. I even asked our server, who played coy and told me there was a connection, but she's not sure what it is. There's not even a website for this bar and grill. They do know that this is 2018 right?
Another odd thing about Heroes and Legends is that they have been open for two years now, and I'm just finding out about them now. I used to think that I was pretty knowledgeable about restaurants, but they just keep sneaking up on me. I find it funny that I live and work in close proximity to this place, and no one has ever mentioned it to me. It's like a secret that no one wanted to share, even though I'm a big fan of both Heroes in Fullerton and Riverside.
Maybe they are flying under the radar, but not on purpose. When my sister and I arrived here at just after 3pm, we were two of the six customers in the place. As our visit stretched into more regular after work hours, this restaurant and bar never filled up with more than a handful of people at one time. Unheard of for the Riverside or Fullerton locations. When we inquired with our server as to if Heroes and Legends ever really gets busy, she said not really and suggested that a lack of a happy hour might be at the root of it.
The menu here is a little more condensed than its stepsister restaurants, but there is plenty of overlap, even with some of the names. Yes, they have the famous Chili Nachos that come out on a pizza pan and can easily feed three to four people, both menus have the Bud's Chili size burger, and a Southwest Meatloaf is offered here as well. At this location, they do not match the 100 plus taps that the others possess, but they do offer a very respectable 70 beers on tap which is one of the largest I have seen down this way. Now, I was intrigued to see if the food would be the same as well. Let's check it out.
Okay, a little personal note before we go any further. I've been doing this food blogging thing for coming up on nine years now and in that time my dining partners have graciously allowed me to take numerous pictures of their food before they have dug in. Since they are nice enough to allow me to do this, I, in turn, try not to steer them into getting what I'd like them to get. It's a give and take thing. When my sister inquired about these Fresh Oysters on the Half Shell ($16/market price), I was a little worried about her. She's been dieting and found a new love for oysters a month or so ago. Oysters in a not very busy restaurant and this far from the ocean always makes me nervous, but our server assured her that they were very fresh. Eight rather large oysters came out over ice, with sliced lemon and a combination of cocktail sauce and horseradish. I did try the oysters and they were pretty fresh, not too gritty, and the provided sauces made them go down as easy as oysters can. I'm still not going to get these here on my next visit, but they were fine on this particular day.
No diet for me of course. I went with one of my favorites at Heroes, the Patty Melt ($12.99). It was pretty much the same here at Heroes and Legends. The beef patty is joined on the grilled parmesan by both Swiss and cheddar slices of cheese and grilled onions. I usually like some thousand island dressing on the side with my patty melt, but the juiciness of this negated the need for it. I had asked for this to be medium, but it came out more of a medium rare, which I did not mind. The curly fries were just like the ones at the other locations. Seasoned well, coming out hot, and more than enough to share with my sister who broke her diet by having a couple handfuls of these fries. Sorry to blow your cover sis. Yes, they do charge an extra 75 cents for ranch dressing, which seems to be a bane of contention for a lot of online reviewers, but having curly fries without ranch would be sacrilege. I'll gladly pay the three quarters.
Since my sister was taking me out for a belated birthday meal, some cake had to be had. I'm a big fan of Carrot Cake ($8) and this one was not half bad. I know they did not make this here, but they tried to jazz it up with a little extra icing on top. I appreciated the effort, but the cake was not as moist as it could have been and was served ice cold, which led me to believe it came right out of the fridge. I took half home, let it sit out and it was noticeably better when eaten at room temperature.
I left Heroes and Legends pretty excited about the food that we encountered on this early evening but also perplexed as to why this restaurant and bar is not busier. It could be the business park setting, but more than likely it's the lukewarm reviews they get on Yelp for their service. We had no issues with the service, except at the start of our meal when it took a few minutes to get things rolling as our server wanted to finish her conversation with the bartender. Nothing too tragic, since me and my sister, had some major catching up to do. I look forward to coming back soon and trying more of their menu including their thick cut pastrami sandwich, more of their burgers, and the chili spaghetti. Hopefully, by then I will have learned the secret connection between this place and the other locations. For now, I'm just glad it'll cut down on my long car trips up to Fullerton and Riverside.
Out of five bowls of cereal, (because Lake Forest is the final resting place for William Hanna, producer of all the best cartoons of my youth, and I watched them all with a bowl of cereal in my lap), five being best to zero being worst, Heroes and Legends gets 3 bowls of cereal.
As I mentioned before, Heroes and Legends has no website so you can find out information about them from their Yelp Page here: https://www.yelp.com/biz/heroes-and-legends-bar-and-grill-lake-forest