Costa Mesa, CA, USA

Travel Costa Mesa Blog

OC Restaurant Week at AnQi Bistro

Posted on March 3, 2010 | 9:00am | Travel Costa Mesa

I finally made it over to AnQi, the new gourmet Vietnamese-fusion bistro at South Coast Plaza that is a sister of the celebrity-patronized Crustacean restaurant in Beverly Hills. The interior has an incredibly unique ambiance: it’s dark, candle-lit with little pots of moss on each table. Wine cellars are visible at both ends and traditional Asian screens break off the otherwise large dining area into smaller, individualized, separate ones.

The area where my friend and I sat was made up of what resembled a large couch on one side, with small, two-person tables lined down it. I got to sit on the couch side which was really cool because my behind’s not used to sitting on such a comfy texture while dining.Being amidst Orange County Restaurant Week, We decided to take advantage of the Restaurant Week lunch special. The three-course prix-fixe meal included corn soup, a main course and dessert. Our waiter was very friendly and attentive and we also spotted one of the managers making her way around various tables to check in with guests and make sure their dining experience as well as their food was enjoyable.

I started off with a passion tea that closely resembles the infamous passion tea of Starbucks fame. It was great, a nice diversion from the typical-flavored teas that most restaurants offer. Bathroom was very unique, too: dimly lit, with wicker trashcans, soap and lotions dispensers that you’d find in a home rather than a restaurant, along with thick, soft paper towels.

Anyway, I’d never had corn soup before but it was actually quite good. It comes with avocado and chicken though I had mine without since I don’t eat meat. The soup was very soothing and the avocado provided just the right kick. Our main-course options included garlic noodles with beef sirloin, a salmon caesar wrap and a meal titled “vegetable delight”, which includes organic tofu, asparagus, shiitake mushroom, green bean, oyster mushroom with jasmine rice. I chose the veggie delight by default and Justin did, too, despite being a meat eater.

The vegetable delight meal was more than enough food; I ate half and took the rest home to finish for dinner, though Justin finished his there in its entirety because he’s a boy and they do that. The sauce was the perfect flavor to compliment the veggies and the rice was quite tasty as well. I would definitely return just for this meal, if not to try the garlic noodles which several sources claim are to die for.

The dessert that accompanies the restaurant week meal is called “molecule cheesecake.” We had a fun time assessing why it might be referred to as such. After much debate, we inquired with our waiter who explained that it’s cheesecake, demolished and put back together in a ball. Who comes up with this? When our molecule cheesecake balls presented themselves, we discovered two round balls accompanied by three little berries. The outer crust was comprised of what would typically be the cheesecake’s crust, while the innards were just a typical cheesecake-tasting filling. Needless to say, we polished these babies off in about 20 seconds. Delicious. And, there was fruit there so it’s healthy, right? Right.