211 62nd Street
Newport Beach, CA 92663
It's been our new years resolution to get out more with friends, and that also helps this blog. Along with socializing more, it means that we will be going to more restaurants than we did last year. Our first foray out in the new year was with our good friends Tom and Daniele. They are both food bloggers, Tom writes the ever popular Tom's Foodie Blog and Dani pens the always entertaining Dani's Decadent Deals.
When we are out with this crazy couple, it's always a big debate on where we are going to eat. For some reason this time they wanted me to give them a list of suggestions. Since we were headed to Newport for cocktails after dinner, I focused on restaurants in this sea kissed city. I gave them a list of about five places, and the four of us came to a conclusion rather quickly. We would be eating at Eat Chow in Newport.
Yes, we have eaten at Eat Chow before, but that was at their location up Newport Boulevard in Costa Mesa. We also had never eaten here for dinner, so that's why we wanted to review this restaurant again. If you are curious as to our other review, you can find it by clicking here.
Their website claims that their menu is all over the place, but they like to call their cuisine, "New American." After taking a look at it online, I'd have to agree with them. There's a lot on here; Mexican, seafood, burgers, sandwiches, pasta dishes, and much more to please just about everyone in your party.
This location of Eat Chow is kind of hard to find. Located between Cappy's and Big Belly Deli off of Pacific Coast Highway, it's right behind the Spaghetti Bender and a Best Western Motel. We got here at about 8pm on a Saturday night, and the restaurant was almost empty. There was one party just finishing up their meal, and another couple near the back of the restaurant. Our waitress explained that this is a weird time of the year, when people are saving money, or not eating out as frequently, trying to keep their new years diet for at least a few more days. No diet for us, as we hurriedly made our selections.
One thing I love about eating with these two is that they never shy away from getting an appetizer, or on this evening, two. The first thing to hit our table were these Fried Green Tomatoes ($4.50). My aversion to tomatoes kept me from enjoying these too much, but the rest of our group favored these. They seemed to have a cornmeal coating, and then were topped with a blend of red tomatoes, onion, a cotija cheese, and a chili herb aioli.
Appetizer number two was much more in my wheelhouse, these Cheesy Tots ($7.50) really struck a chord with me. I'm pretty much a tater tot fiend, and then you add bacon, green onion, and a five cheese fondue, and I fall in love. Even though the tater tots were served in a cheese sauce, they kept their integrity, were fried crisp, and went well with the provided chili aioli. A very comforting dish that I wanted to hoard for myself.
Let's start the entrees with Tom's selection first, which was a special on this evening, the Sand Dabs ($15). Tom was pretty pleased with his selection. The sand dabs were tender, with a non-obtrusive butter sauce drizzled on top of them for some added flavor. This special also included an arugula salad, which was paired with a lemon dressing and some grated Parmesan cheese. This salad won raves from all that tried it, including myself. The potatoes here were topped with the same butter sauce as the sand dabs, and was just fine.
Katie went with one of the Mexican inspired entrees at Eat Chow, the Crispy Beef Tacos ($12). These tacos used shredded ribeye as their protein, and then were topped with salsa fresca, cotija cheese, and lettuce. Katie liked these, but was not in awe of them. They are the kind of tacos you can get at a lot of places. Nothing, including the ribeye really made them stand out. The black beans that came with these tacos were pretty standard as well.
It's always an adventure watching Daniele pick something to order, and then tweak it. She seemed to have a hard time deciding on what to have here at Eat Chow, and when she finally decided on this Albacore Tuna Melt ($10), she had to make a modification to it. This tuna melt was supposed to come with three cheeses on it, but Daniele wanted the Swiss left off of it. She liked the fresh tuna, but because this was so rich, she only ate half of it here. Like with all the sandwiches, this came with a dinner salad, featuring some fresh greens and a very good blue cheese dressing.
For my meal on this rather chilly night, I had this Chow Patty Melt ($14) warm me up. This is not you father's patty melt. It starts with eight ounces of ground chuck, which is topped with Worcestershire caramelized onions, a house made mustard aloutte, a pickled pepper relish, muenster and Swiss cheeses, all sandwiched between Parmesan encrusted white bread. I really did enjoy this patty melt, but the beef kind of got lost here with everything else going on. I was a little worried the mustard was going to overpower, but what really did was the bread. The bread to meat ratio was way off, and made this patty melt good, when it could have been great. I had the Caesar to go along with this, which was good, but could have used a little more dressing for my taste.
We were about ready to hit the bars in Newport, but first each couple picked one dessert to serve as a base for the cocktails we were going to be having. My selection was an easy one, the Gooey Butter Cake ($8). This was not like any butter cake I have ever had. It was very moist, still had the great flavor you'd expect from this dessert, and it came with a caramel-pecan sauce on the side. A different take on one of my favorite desserts. This version is not going to rival the ones I've had at Mastro's, Nick's or Reunion, but I'd definitely get this again.
Daniele was very excited about her dessert as well, the Banana Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding ($8). It wasn't until I got home and looked at my first review of Eat Chow that I realized this was the dessert that we had tried on that visit. My opinion of this dessert has not changed since we had this three years ago. It sounds a lot better than it actually is. The banana chocolate chip bread is too dense, and the chocolate chips are kind of lost here. I did like that they put plenty of whipped cream on here, and the added chocolate and caramel sauce was a nice touch. I feel I won the battle of the desserts on this evening. Sorry Daniele.
Taken for what Eat Chow is, I'd definitely come back here again. I'd classify this restaurant as upscale diner food, at very reasonable prices. There's something for everyone on this menu, and you will for sure find something to like at Eat Chow. Nothing is over the $20 mark, and most things hover around the $10 to $14 price point. I hear that breakfast is their busiest time, and more what they are known for, so that might be what we try on our next visit. Service was very solid on this evening, and Tracy was very patient with all of our questions, and lingering after our meal. Eat Chow was a nice way for us to start off our new year.
Out of five pearls, (because the chow is an obsolete unit of measure for pearls in India), five being best to zero being worst, Eat Chow gets 3 pearls.
For more information about Eat Chow, head to their website by clicking here: http://www.eatchownow.com/