Descanso Restaurant recently opened up in Costa Mesa with a unique concept that makes so much sense! Everyone is familiar with the teppanyaki form of demonstration cooking on a hot iron grill, and if you've ever been to Mexico you've also seen the taco vendors on the street cooking with their flattop grills or 'plancha' as they call it. So of course, if you combine the two it makes a a lot of sense and that's exactly what Descanso has done!
Now, don't expect Descanso to put on a 'show' as you won't see any onion volcanos or flying shrimp here. However, if you've ever tried the tacos at the above aforementioned street vendors you know how well this style of cooking lends itself to Mexican food.
Your first decision at Descanso will be what style of dining you're interested in experiencing. Your choices are the Taco Bar, the Plancha experience and the standard dining option. The first two are more interactive and involve your meal being cooked in front of you demonstration style.
At the Taco Bar, you order your tacos sushi-bar style on a sheet of paper. The Chef then prepares your tacos in front of you. Much like at a typical teppanyaki, the grill is surrounded by seats on three sides. Unless you come with a large party and reserve ahead, you'll be making new friends at the grill.
Taco options range from steak, al pastor, carnitas, mahi, mahi, and a vegetarian chili relleno.
The "Plancha" experience at Descanso is presented as a multi-course menu with your choice of entree. You can choose a Taco entree, a Quesadilla entree or the Almabre option of having your meat mixed with the veggie with a side of their delicious homemade corn tortillas.
The price of your Plancha meal is determined by which entree you choose, with entrees starting at $24. It's a full meal experience that starts with chips & chicharrones with salsa, followed by your choice of soup or salad. I was so incredibly happy to see fideo soup as one of the choices. I grew up eating fideo - a tomato garlic noodle soup, and I'm glad to report that Descano's version didn't disappoint my childhood memories.
The actual grill cooking starts with an assortment of grilled veggies and fried rice. Both of which resulted in generous portions of both that were quite tasty. Next was our entrees which were grilled to perfection by our talented grill Chef. Again, the portions were very generous and cooked perfectly.
I ordered the sirloin steak alambre which is cooked on the grill with onions and peppers, and served with the most delicious house-made blue and white corn tortillas. My dining partner equally enjoyed the carnitas tacos which were fried crispy on the grill but still very tender and flavorful.
I was really impressed with Descanso, and look forward to returning soon to try more of their menu items. If you're looking for a unique dining experience and/or are a lover of good Mexican food I highly suggest you try it!
Descanso is located at 1555 Adams Ave in Costa Mesa
(in the location of the former Soup Plantation)
See their full menu on their website: http://www.descansorestaurant.com/
Hours: Sun-Thurs 11-10pm; Fri-Sat 11-11pm
Be sure to tell them OCFoodieGirl sent you!