With the overload of choices of Mexican restaurants in Southern California we are always looking for some variety. Southwestern cuisine offers many of the flavors of traditional Mexican food but often with a lighter, more well balanced selection for a variety of tastes. Z’Tejas Grill stands out as a top choice for Southwestern food in Orange County.
Last week my family and I and some friends met for lunch at Z’Tejas Grill in Costa Mesa at South Coast Plaza. My husband travels to Arizona for business quite often and has told me many times about his positive experiences at the Z’Tejas Grill in Tempe near ASU. Our visit was during the holiday frenzy and South Coast Plaza is always decked out for Christmas. It was nice to combine some shopping with a good meal.
The interior is very inviting. It has warm colors, appropriate lighting and high beam ceilings giving it the feel of being open and airy. The space between the tables is also plentiful and I never felt like I was bumping into the person behind me when I had to get up from the table.
Our waitress Wesley was fabulous and I cannot recommend her enough. She was friendly, playful with my kids, attentive, didn’t hover over us, and was always there when we needed something. Since we were there on Sunday for brunch we started off with some cocktails. I tried the build your own bloody Mary Bar.
I loved how I could choose my own flavor tomato juice, and pick as many veggies and olives as I wanted. They had Tabasco sauce, cayenne pepper, and all kinds of seasonings for your drink.
My husband had a margarita called “Hard Day”. It had 1800 Reposado Tequila, Grand Marnier, Cointreau Orange Liqueur, fresh lime juice and a splash of orange juice, with a salted rim. The mixologists at Z’tejas don’t mess around. It was seriously a good drink.
After our drinks we ordered a couple of appetizers. The Tejas Trio, the grilled shrimp and guacamole tostada bites, and the table side guacamole. The Tejas Trio included guacamole, chili con queso, and salsa picante. It had the perfect amount of variety for us to sample a little bit of everything.
The Grilled Shrimp and Guacamole Tostada Bites were my personal favorite. The shrimp had a spicy kick to them but the cucumbers, carrots, peppers and onions cooled it down just the right amount. I will absolutely be ordering this again and I recommend you try it next time you go.
The table side guacamole was amazing. My husband is on a low carb diet and they even brought out carrot and celery sticks for him so he didn’t have to eat the tortilla chips with the guacamole.
Then they brought out their homemade cornbread. It is served warm on an iron skillet with soft butter and it blows Marie Callender’s cornbread out of the water.
Finally it was time for our entree’s. I had the open faced meatloaf sandwich and it was very flavorful. Nothing goes better with meatloaf than big crispy onion strings. It is served on toasted brioche bread with creamy mashed potatoes and crisp broccoli. I also had a house salad with it.
My husband had the shrimp omelet with Andouille Veracruz. It was a Three egg omelet stuffed with sautéed shrimp, peppers, mango, herbs and Goat cheese, and topped with a spicy tomato Andouille sauce. It is typically served with breakfast potatoes but he opted for fruit instead. Such a good healthy choice!
My friend had the Voo Doo Tuna. It was Blackened tuna steak seared and topped with peppercorn vinaigrette, spicy soy mustard and pickled ginger, served with seasonal rice and vegetables.
My oldest son had the five-cheese macaroni with Achiote chicken. It had Jack, Cheddar, Parmesan, Romano and Bleu cheese sauce, topped with grilled Achiote chicken breast and bacon gratin. He said it was heavy but very tasty.. He said the chicken was very tender and he even ate his leftovers for breakfast the next morning.
Our friend’s son had the grown up grilled cheese and chicken tortilla soup. It was not your average grilled cheese. It had smoked chicken , cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese on brioche bread. He loved it!
My 3 year old daughter had the mac and cheese and my middle son had the chicken strips. The coating on the chicken strips wasn’t your average coating. It was light and thin unlike typical fried chicken strips. The kids devoured both entrees.
At the end of the meal we were so full we didn’t even have room for dessert. However, I am told they have a FANTASTIC Ancho Fudge Pie with walnuts, pecans and a pinch of ancho chile and whipped cream.
Also, Jack Reed, The Director of Operations happened to be there that night and he came by our table to ask how our meal was. You can really tell he really takes pride in providing the best possible dining experience.