LogoAnQi Restaurant, by House of An, in Orange County’s posh South Coast Plaza has just unveiled a very creative beverage and small bites offering. Let’s just say that the weekly “hump day” has just been elevated to a whole new level. And it’s worth checking out. Call your crew for a gathering.

Meet “Fashionably Early Wednesdays” which translates to a fantastic Wednesday night soiree!  AnQi’s fantastic Red Hour runs Monday thru Friday from 4-7pm and then again from 9:30pm to close offering half price on a number of delicious craft cocktails, select wines and delicious appetizers. Perfect for sharing. For “Fashionably Early Wednesdays” the DJ starts spinning his magic at 6:00pm to close, and in the bar area on Wednesdays, enjoy an evening of fun curated additional items for the “stylish tastemakers” of Orange County. And you know who you are, right?

This restaurant is unlike any other in Orange County. When I walk through the ginormous, commanding front door, I feel as though I have been instantly transported elsewhere. This place is ethereal—-it’s dimly lit, yet evokes a delicate and airy vibe.  Flower arrangements explode with color, under laser pin-lighting, private rooms and sliding Asian-inspired doors conceal playful corridors of friendly laughter and dining pleasures. Large trays of steaming and sizzling deliciousness parade past, with the flair of a dance troupe gliding past me.

I am just where I want to be—-in another time and place.

And isn’t this just the perfect back-drop to an evening of delicious handcrafted cocktails, and cuisine that is so full of unique flavors, it encourages me to “press replay” at every turn. It is divine. The menu is a creative collaboration between House of AN master chef Helene An and chef partner Ron Lee.

And on this fine evening, I had the distinct pleasure of participating in a Tasting Menu from their “master mixologists” at the bar, and from the kitchen, the chef’s favorite creations for this new menu.  I wanted to share this with all of my readers in hopes that I can impart some of what I have sampled and that may help guide you when you run, not walk, in here to try for yourself.

So, let’s start with the drinks, since no good story started with “let’s have salad”.

Here were the four, over the top craft cocktails I enjoyed….

Pear Fusion- This included Grey Goose La Poire, St. Germain (an elderflower liqueur and my favorite), Muddled Asian Pears, with Fresh Lemonade. Slightly sweet, but delicious.

The Rickshaw- This is made with Makers Mark, Cointreau, Fresh Lemon and Orange, with a hint of brown sugar on the rim.
Satisfies my love of bourbon.

Sin-U-Rita- This Latin rumba begins with El Jimador Blanco Tequila, Watermelon, Jalapeno, and Mint Leaves.  Wonderful combination of flavors with a hint of heat.

Indochine- Tanqueray Gin starts this off, with St. Germain, Tyku Liqueur (with a citrus profile), Muddled Cucumber and Lime. My favorite…. Refreshing and light.

Next we moved on to the “Small Bites Menu” and the Chef had selected four wonderful dishes for us to enjoy. Every one of them I would order again. This included:

Misoyaki Butterfish– Baked Cod with Miso and Broccolini. This was a delicate fish with the perfect balance of Miso glaze and was cooked to perfection.

Tombo Tuna Crispy Taco– Yuzukoshō (a paste made from chili peppers, yuzu peel and salt, which is fermented), Haas Avocado, Macadamia Nut, White Truffle, Black Tobiko Caviar- These were delicious with a balance of crunchiness and richness of the tuna. Let me just say that I did not share this one.

An’s Famous Garlic Noodles With Pan Roasted Lobster -From the Secret Kitchen- Famous is right and the Noodles and Lobster were rich and amazing!

AnQi Char-Grilled Colossal Prawns – Tumeric, Fried Rice, Bilboa Chorizo, Manilla Clams, Piquillo Pepper Fume, Quinzoi Liaison.
This dish sang with so many different spices and flavors, yet perfectly balanced.

This is just a sampling of the incredibly creative dishes you will find at AnQi and please consider staying for dinner. The menu has a plethora of options to enjoy. I was also impressed by the knowledge of the staff in describing the many different dishes, including sauces and spices. There are so many private rooms, making this a wonderful choice for private social events. Close to the freeway, is a natural meeting spot.

AnQi by House of AN
3333 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 557-5679
http://houseofan.com/bestasianrestaurantoc/

Hours:
Sun & Mon   11:30 am – 9:00 pm
Tue – Thu     11:30 am – 10:00 pm
Fri                 11:30 am – 1:00 am
Sat                 11:30 am – 11:00 pm

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