The Copper Door Brings in a Food Program
The Copper Door ups the ante for hungry customers in an increasingly competitive Downtown Santa Ana
Downtown Santa Ana has been building up as one of the must visit destinations for foodies for the past couple years. One of the favorite locations for beer and music enthusiasts has been The Copper Door, located just under Chapter One.
This basement establishment had the look and feel of a 1920’s underground speakeasy, even before such a thing was hipstered out. The Copper Door recently went through an ownership change and along with it came some much needed repairs and upgrades. The biggest change is the addition of a kitchen and a food program.
Previously beer happy customers would have to negotiate up the steep stairs and out to another establishment like Chapter One or The Grilled Cheese Shop for a few bites of food between beers. The new program is obviously aiming to keep their guests firming planted on the bar stool and a fresh beer in hand.
I visited the copper door recently to check out their beer tap lineup and their new bar food program. What I discovered is that their beer tap program is still fantastic and the food is evolving.
Food and Beer Pairings
I sampled their new dishes and had them paired, by bartender Mark, with the perfect beer for the food. Here are my impressions.
Epic Brewing Company – Smoked Porter
This porter is dark, smooth and finishes its smooth tasting melody of chocolate and coffee like Barry White. This beer has a rich smokiness from cherry wood smoked malts that gives a great aroma at the finish.
Paired with Beer Cheese Fondue. The fondue is made with sharp cheddar, garlic, and the same Epic Brewing Company Smoked Port. The beer provides a deeply smokey flavor to the cheese and the chocolate and coffee notes blend with the cheese to provide a light mole flavor without the spice.
St.Archer White Ale
This is a good straight forward wit beer, then went down clean, without the over use of spices. With that said, I did taste some orange peel, light coriander and oaty sweetness.
This is a great light and refreshing summer beer that I would drink after busting a move on the dance floor. One does not simply order a bud light for refreshment.
Paired with Olive Tapenade. The olive tapenade is a blend of chopped olives, garlic, capers, mustard, olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh basil served with slices of toasted garlic ciabatta. The tapenade was good and paired well with St.Archer White ale, although I am not a fan of olives, so I would not order. ($8)
Bruery Mischief Golden Ale
Bruery Mischief Golden Ale is a Belgian style golden strong ale that has both fruity and dry characteristics. Mischief drinks easily and gives a slight fruit and peppery finish. This is a very good beer that I recommend to my readers.
Paired with Bruschetta. This is a pretty standard bruschetta made with tomatoes, basil, parmesan cheese, and garlic served with slices of toasted garlic ciabatta. ($8).
The complex sweet and dry taste of this beer, compliments the acidity of the tomato, pungent garlic and buttery ciabatta. This dish is a little too simple to order at a restaurant, although for $8 it is a no brainer.
De Brabandere – Petrus Aged Pale Ale
This is a sour beer that has been aged for 18 months in oak barrels, giving it a oakey and smokey flavor. These additional flavor layers even out the sourness of this beer, making it easily drinkable. This beer was even ordered by special request of Michael Jackson.
Paired with Salmon Tartare. The Salmon Tartare croistini is made with Smoked Salmon, olive oil, capers, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard and dill.
The tangy dijon and grain mustard are complimented by this sour beer, letting the taste of the salmon stand out. This was probably my favorite food that The Copper Door served.
Great Divide Claymore Scotch Ale
This is Great Divide’s ode to the Scottish “Wee Heavy” beers of Scotland. This is a deep ruby beer with lots of noble malitiness and a healthy does of caramel sweetness that finishes of the palate nicely. This beer drinks heavy, although it finishes smoothly.
Paired with Filet Mignon Crostini. Claymore Scotch ale does really well with red meat, so it is perfectly paired with the Filet Mignon crostini and the herbed goat cheese. The crostini is also garnished with horseradish sour cream and balsamic glaze.
Bottlelogic Tattered Prince French Style Saison
This is French Style Saison that is spiced with ginger, coriander, orange peel and fermented with a farm house yeast. Saisons are generally very complex beers that has mutltiple flavor profiles, sourness and a dry finish.
The Tattered Prince uses spices to offset some of the sourness, making it more approachable for first time Saisoners.
Paired with Alligator sausage slider. The Alligator Sausage Slider is made with a spicy alligator sausage, red pepper aioli, blue cheese ,and served on a ciabatta roll.
This is a good slider and I would order it again. This dish had some wild flavors and the saison flavor profile became even more balanced when paired with this dish.
Also paired with The Caprese Slider. This is a pretty basic caprese sandwich made with mozzarella, basil and tomato on a chiabatta. Great for absorbing one too many saisons.
The basil added a nice flavor layer to the beer. This dish, like the bruschetta, are too safe for my tastes.
Also paired with BLT Cup. This dish is simple, but delicious. A cup is made with bacon and filled with lettuce, tomato and some dressing, just like a “protein style” BLT.
Although this dish felt a little gimmicky at first blush, I really enjoyed the crispy bacon against the cool lettuce and tomato. It also did well when paired with the Saison. Bacon gets me every time.
The desserts are still a work in progress. They served us candied walnuts, again on crostini rounds, and a fondue made with St.Louis Frambois. Both were good, although not great desserts. I am not going to review this since I know they can do better. My advice is to unleash the chef and let him go a little bigger.
My Final Thoughts about Copper Door
If you have not visited The Copper Door in some time, many things have changed for the better. They now have more ventilation due to several industrial fans, so it is a lot cooler. The Beer selection is great, as always, and the new food program is a welcome addition for folks who like to nibble while drinking. Many beers, just like wine, tastes better when paired with food.
I encourage the owner to unleash Chef Ben a little bit more and develop the menu past sliders and sandwiches. Move past crostini based items and into full Salmon Tartare bowls.
The dessert program needs to be amped up. I suggest partnering with the new Black Market Bakery to bring in freshly baked desserts and coffee. Why not serve beer infused doughnuts, cupcakes and cake?
My last piece of advice to my readers is to chat with your bartender at the Copper Door. The day I visited I chatted with Mark, the Bartender, and he is a wealth of information about beer. He provided me with more beer education in a two hour period, then I have ever absorbed while attending a beer tasting class.
Location of The Copper Door
225 1/2 N Broadway Santa Ana, CA 92701
(underneath Chapter One)
The Copper Door Website