Orange County Restaurant Week is well underway today and today’s post is highlighting my lunch time Restaurant week experience at AnQi. My posts are usually really long, but this is going to be a quick snapshot. AnQi is the sister restaurant of one of the most revered restaurants in Beverly Hills, Crustacean and both owned by the An Group. I dined with two other foodies, one of them a vegetarian. Here is what we ordered with our $20 Orange County Restaurant Week prix fixe menu.
1st Course (Duet of)
Chicken Caesar Rice roll -This was a light and refreshing “roll” that balanced the flavor of the romaine lettuce with the pecorino cheese. The chicken was tucked into the roll and provided a nice protein balance to the house made Caesar dressing. This was a fun bite sized salad that was complimented with a single crouton, cute. The Vegetarian version used tofu instead of chicken.
Surf and Turf Maki Roll - . This was a fun dish that took a cut of a spicy tuna roll and topped it with a thin slice of wagyu beef. The roll was garnished with greens, ponzu and a spicy Japanese egg-yolk sauce. It was sprinkled with a lovely blend of spices I couldn’t figure out. This dish was a complex web of flavors that left me desiring more.
1st Course Vegetarian Substitutions
Takuwan roll (vegetarian substitute) – This is a preserved vegetable roll with daikon sweet pickles, asparagus, carrots. It was topped with what looked like a shaving of pickled beet and a lovely yellow sauce we couldn’t decipher. All of us meat eaters wished there was a third roll included so that we could try this one as well
Tofu Caesar Rice roll- Same as the Chicken Caesar Roll, but with tofu instead
Beef Bahn Mi – One of the better Beef Bahn Mi Sandwiches I have tasted. It was made with crunchy French roll, perfectly seared beef, pickled vegetables, and a couple mild jalapenos. The Banh Mi was served with sweet potato fries that were dusted with a blend of seasoning that possibly included sea salt, celery seed, sugar? Whatever was in the seasoning blend, the result was an uncontrollable need to eat all my fries. The fries were also served with a creamy Cilantro Aioli. Needless to say I broke my diet by eating all the fries.
Tofu Salad (Vegetarian option) with Napa Cabbage, sweet Peppers and Mango Dressing. Our Vegetarian friend said that he really loved this tofu salad, because of the very flavorful tofu. I tasted a piece and noticed that the seasoning on the tofu really complimented the Napa cabbage, sweet peppers and mango dressing. Of course the crunchies on top of the salad never hurts
The other Entree selection was a Salmon salad, but no one ordered it.
Shot of Green Tea Tiramisu – Although the other courses were delicious, the green tea tiramisu stole the show. On the bottom of the cup was a lady finger that was soaked in green tea. It was topped with green tea infused egg yolks and mascarpone creating the classic puffy tiramisu cream layer. The tiramisu had a sophisticated hue of green tea flavor and color. It was topped with a sugar crusted puff pastry and what looked/tasted like a gelatin cube that was teased with espresso. We all finished our dessert quickly and agreed that we need to come back for more.
My Final Thoughts
Overall I was really impressed by the lunch prix fixe menu at AnQi, it was obvious that they put a lot of effort and thought into the menu and its preparation. We all loved the complexity of the flavor pairings and creativity of the dishes. The only criticism it took too long for a business lunch; we arrived at 11:30 am and our main courses did not come out until 12:20 pm. If you are concerned about timing, just let the Manager or server know you have a limited time frame. Aside from this minor issue, this was one of the best $20 lunches that I have experienced in a long time. Many compliments to the Chef.