Tortilla Republic Brunch Preview
Tortilla Republic, Newest Laguna Beach Restaurant
One of the newest restaurant openings in Orange County is Tortilla Republic, in Laguna Beach. It is located just off PCH, in the same location that Javier’s occupied. The restaurant is very impressive inside, with open air ceilings and a very airy feeling.
Tortilla Republic describes themselves as “contemporary Mexican fare.” In my opinion the food tastes like the tapestry of Southern California, with a Modern Mexican and California Costal cuisine mash up.
Tortilla Republic hired Orange County’s more talented and colorful Chefs, Christopher Tzorin previously from Savanah Chop House, to lead the new Laguna Beach Location.
Brunch is entrée based format, with breakfast and lunch items. I was invited, as part of the media event to taste a variety of their brunch dishes. This article is based on a group media tasting format, so I was not able to taste more than 1-2 bites of each dish. Expect a full blind review of Tortilla Republic in the near future. Brunch at Tortilla Republic runs on Saturday and Sundays.
With that said, I really liked each of the dishes I tasted, although some dishes clearly stood out better than others. I have listed these dishes in order of “Most to Least Favorite.”
What I tasted at Tortilla Republic Brunch Menu
Egg White Omelet
This is the dish that I would have skipped if I saw it on the menu, but liked it the most. The concept is very simple, yet flavorful. The chef created a thick egg white omelet and folded it over sautéed black kale, zesty chipotle shrimp, cherry tomatoes, oyster mushrooms, and a delicious grilled corn relish.
This dish had a wonderful layering of flavors and I would not feel guilty about eating this dish, since it is made with egg whites. In fact, ordering this dish would afford me the calories to me to eat lots of chips and extra cocktails. 😉 $13
Fresh Roasted Corn & Blueberry Pancakes
This was perhaps one of the better pancakes that I have eaten. Soft and fluffy pancakes are loaded with sweet blueberries and sweet corn. This is a great combination of ingredients that plays well with the pancakes. $9
If you go “brunching” with a large group, someone has to order this dish. With that said, the person who ordered will probably have this dish “tasted” to death by their table mates. This happened to me, although I was able to salvage one bite of these delicious pancakes before they were out.
I love mole and enchiladas, so this dish was perfect for my tastes. The enchiladas are stuffed with simmered and pulled free range chicken from Mary’s farms. The enchiladas are topped with a sweet mole, which had a slight tingle. The enchiladas are garnished with tinga sauce, crema, queso fresco, and toasted sesame seeds. $17
Pescado a la Parrilla / Seared Albacore Tuna Taco
The seared albacore tuna tacos are very refreshing, especially on a hot day. They were very filling, without leaving you with a post brunch belly bloat.
The albacore tuna is seared and served on corn tortillas with a tequila passion fruit slaw, pico de gallo, avocado, salsa de mesa, cilantro, and crema. I liked the balance of sweet, acidic and creamy flavors in these tacos. $16
Seared Albacore Tuna & Sweet Potato Hash
This is another albacore dish that I thought was made well. This dish is made with sweet potatoes that are cooked in small diced cubes and cooked to a “home fries” style hash. It is topped with ½ inch sliced cubes of cooked albacore.
The menu said the albacore is seared. Although to me, the albacore was 75% cooked through, leaving it juicy, although not pink. The dish was topped with two poached eggs, wilted micro greens, caramelized onions, and jalapeños.
I recommend that you pop the eggs and mix it all together for the best experience. $16.50
This was a good Machaca Burrito, made with high quality ingredients. Although, it was just “good” in comparison to my favorite Machaca burrito.
If you are looking for something hearty, this is burrito is weighty, yet it still has some very nice flavor subtleties that you would expect from a restaurant like Tortilla Republic. It is made with scrambled eggs, prime shredded beef, potatoes, Monterey jack cheese, pico de gallo, and served “wet” with ranchero sauce. $12
This is a nice presentation and preparation of the classic Chilaquiles dish. It is made with roasted poblano, queso fresco, crema, black beans, crispy corn tortillas, choice of ranchero or tomatillo sauce. It ate like a fully loaded nacho plate with the chips getting a little soggy on the bottom. $9
I recommend that you top the dish with eggs over easy (add $2) and Spanish Chorizo (add $2) to really make this dish pop. I sampled it in its standard format and it fell a little flat, it needs the eggs and protein.
This dish did make its way to my side of the table, so I am ranking it last. I did not taste it. Visually I really like the way it was constructed. My table mates said that they really liked it. I will order it next time to find out. $13.75
This was a pretty standard “made from scratch” churro, with a chocolate and caramel dipping sauce. I am a big churro fan, so I enjoyed it. I would suggest that they provide more of the chocolate and caramel dipping sauces as it was awkward trying to dip the churro is a shallow puddle of the sauce. I like to “Dunk” my churro.
Spicy Chocolate Cake
This is a coffee and chile cake that had the density of a ganache. I like how the flavor profile quickly changed from first bite (coffee) to spicy (swallow). It comes with a house made ice cream.
First and most important is that if you are going for a brunch, then Mimosas should be your order of business. They are $8, although if you plan on having more than two, I highly suggest the Bottomless Mimosas for $19. Settle in and enjoy the company of your friends with some mimosa induced laughter.
If mimosas are not your thing, then I suggest the Margaritas. Here are the Tortilla Republic margaritas that I tried
Cucumber Lavender Margarita
This cocktail was fresh like summer mornings and really easy to drink. El Jimador Blanco Tequila, Fresh agave lime sweet, house made lavender syrup, muddled cucumber. I really like the light aroma of lavender in this dish paired against the cool cumber flavors. It is a little too easy to drink, so pace yourself.
This is a really fun cocktail in flavor and presentation. It is made with Cazadores resposado tequila, fresh agave lime sweet, passion fruit puree, and Ancho Reyes liquer. I liked the sweet, tangy and spicy nature of this margarita. The rim is lined with chile lime salt, which matched the flavor profile of this margarita. This would be my #1 choice of cocktails.
My Final Thoughts
Overall I had some very positive impressions of the brunch items I tasted at Tortilla Republic. Some dishes clearly stood out, like the Mole Enchiladas, Egg White Omelet and Fresh Roasted Corn and Blueberry pancakes.
I felt that the menu was very affordable with the most expensive item ringing in at $17 and many items hovering around the $10 mark. I can easily imagine spending more money on delicious margaritas then food.
Tortilla Republic Laguna Beach Address, Phone and Website
480 S Coast Hwy Laguna Beach, CA 92651