Sunday, March 19, 2017

Hurry! King Crab Combos Are Ending Soon

Black Angus
1350 North Tustin Ave. 
Santa Ana, CA 92705

Your choices for a reasonable steak dinner are shrinking. With the closure of Lone Star Steakhouse earlier this year, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a good steak dinner, without breaking the bank. Yes, there's still Outback and Sizzler, but I haven't been to either of these two chains for a long time now.

I hadn't been to Black Angus either, until late last year. Before that visit, it had probably been about ten years since I had been inside a Black Angus. Part of the reason for this was because the location nearest my house had closed years ago. I ended up being pretty impressed with that visit late last year and had eagerly awaited a chance to return.

That return trip came last week when my sister and I had made plans to meet up for a long overdue happy hour session. This was a sort of homecoming for her, as she used to tend bar at this very Black Angus location in the mid 90's. We both had some pretty good memories in this building, which is situated right across the street from Western Medical Center.

Our happy hour date turned into more of a dinner date when we ran into District Manger for Black Angus, the very personable Jeff Gadberry. He insisted that we try their wildly popular special going on right now, the King Crab Combos. With these combos, you not only get a good amount of crab but also get your choice between a Top Sirloin, Filet Mignon, or their very good Prime Rib. Who are we to resist crab and steak on the same plate?

 We took a seat in their very comfortable lounge, which is accented with some nostalgic pictures of sports stars from yesteryear. The open seating bar area filled up rather nicely during our stay, as people took advantage of the great happy hour deals. Happy hour goes from 3 to 7 Monday through Friday and all day on Tuesday and Sundays. They offer beer, wine, cocktail, and appetizer choices anywhere from $4 to $7 during these times. A great deal where you have a few drinks and two appetizers and still won't spend $20.

We started things off with the Crispy Fried Garlic-Pepper Zucchini ($4). I've always had a soft spot for the zucchini here, which comes with a wonderful housemade cucumber dip. The combination of the very good panko crusted breading and the consistency of the dip goes great together and makes this a winning choice for starting out any visit to Black Angus. Very well done.

Since we were going to be gossiping about some family matters, a couple of cocktails were definitely in order. We tried the Irish Winter ($8.50) and the Tangerine Drop ($8.50). These are both on their featured cocktail menu and are available for a limited time. The Tangerine Drop was a favorite of my sister, as she had two of these during our stay at Black Angus. This more refined take on a lemon drop starts out with Absolut Citron Vodka, then a fresh tangerine and a lemon elixir is added. It's then finished off with a splash of champagne. My sister enjoyed the citrus explosion this provided, and would not hesitate to get this on her next visit. I was a little hesitant when the Irish Water was put in front of me, as I'm not really a big fan of Jameson Irish Whiskey, but it was downplayed in this beverage. This is their Texas tea with a shot of Jameson and a splash of cranberry. Very refreshing and delicious, but be advised, this could sneak up on you if you have too many.

Now the focal point of our experience at Black Angus on this particular evening, the King Crab Combo with a Filet Mignon ($34.99). This was a good amount of food, which I happily tackled earnestly. The three crab legs provided plenty of sweet and fresh meat. I was informed that these crab legs came from the Pacific Ocean, near South America. So maybe these were centolla crab, but I'm not sure. Whatever they were, it ended up being fantastic. My sister, who is not really a fan of crab really enjoyed the tiny bite I gave her. I did not really want to share.  The six-ounce filet was done to a perfect medium rare, and was very tender, while the caramelized shallot and bleu cheese butter added an unneeded, but welcome flavor boost to my steak. With this meal, you also get your choice of two classic sidekicks, and I went with the Mac and Cheese and the Roasted Brussels Sprouts. The mac and cheese was a tad on the runny side, but I liked the breadcrumbs topping this and the creamy cheese covering the elbow-shaped pasta. The brussels sprouts were very good, with some good caramelization included here, which added some sweetness. A very good end to this wonderful meal.

My sister is pretty basic when it comes to her meals, and that held true at Black Angus on this evening. She opted for the Top Sirloin Center Cut ($19.99) with the same shallot and bleu cheese butter I had on my filet.  As is the case with lots of top sirloin steaks, there were a few bites that were a little on the fatty side here, but the majority of this steak was done nicely, and extremely tender for a top sirloin. For her sides, she went with the Grilled Asparagus and the Au Gratin Potatoes. The asparagus was done nicely over the grill, which helped this vegetable pick up some extra flavor. The potatoes tasted almost the same as my mac and cheese, but with a better consistency. Definitely the better choice between the two.

My sister had just ordered her second Tangerine Drop so I could not let her out drink me, so I ordered one of my all-time favorite cocktails, a Montana Mai Thai ($8.50). Drinking this automatically brings to mind a tropical island out in the Pacific. Malibu Coconut Rum, Captain Morgan's, orange and pineapple juices, and a splash of Meyer's Dark Rum as a floater combined to bring a little touch of the South Pacific to Santa Ana. Dessert had to be ordered as well, especially when I heard they had Peanut Butter Cup Pie ($6.50) as their seasonal dessert. Any Resse's fan will get behind this pie. It starts with a peanut butter and graham cracker crust, and is then layered with chocolate ganache, peanut butter mousse, whipped cream, both chocolate and peanut butter drizzles, and finished with a miniature Reese's peanut butter cup. That's a lot of peanut butter, and perfect for a self-professed peanut butter fiend like myself. Make sure to get into Black Angus soon, as this is a limited timed item.

Speaking of limited time things, like I stated earlier, the King Crab Combos are only available for a very limited time now, so if you want to experience them, it would probably be best to get into your nearest Black Angus this week. Fret not if you don't make that deal because a little bird told us that they are going to be having a lamb special coming up next, and a lobster and steak promotion which is one of their most popular of the year. Once again, Black Angus proves that you can still get good steak dinner at a value price, and that's probably why they are sticking around while their competitors are falling by the wayside.

We would like to thank everyone that we encountered during our visit to Black Angus. Our waitress Lindsay could not have been nicer, even if she did stump me on one of the world capitals that I profess to know all of. She made some great recommendations and kept excellent care of us. General Manager Jennifer Sarte was a whole nother story. She and my sister ganged up on me more than I care to remember. Even she could not dampen this visit. Kidding, of course, Jennifer, or am I? Lastly, we would like to thank the graciousness of District Manager Jeff Gadberry, who not only shared his passion for what they do and serve at Black Angus, but he's an equally great man who we enjoyed reconnecting with. We hope our paths cross again soon Jeff.

To find your closest Black Angus, head to their website here:

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