Thursday, August 1, 2013

Andrei's Conscious Cuisine & Cocktails, Irvine

There’s nothing wrong with the individual ingredients of Andrei’s Conscious Cuisine & Cocktails West Coast Manhattan (Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Morello Cherries, Bitters, Vermouth, Orange Squeeze) ($11).  It’s strong, no doubt.  Maybe it was the bitters (too much?) or maybe it was the orange squeeze which I think was muddled in my case, but there is something off about the taste.  It was shaken. And it came with a glass of water without my having to ask for it. 

Their specialty drink menu is heavy on the vodka but in their, they do have a manhattan on the menu as well as a whiskey sour ($10).  Both are listed in the straight up section.  When I inquire about about a few of the drinks, the bartender is takes his time answering my questions.  Why is a whiskey sour is on the straight up list (having been scolded by a bartender in an Irish dive bar in Dorchester, MA that whiskey sours are never made straight up). I am told the it contains egg white And the basis-cucumber gimlet (with gin, thank you very much) on the rocks? Customers complained that it was too strong.  Too strong?  Is that even possible?

Andrei’s offers several small plates ($6-8) during their happy hour from 3-7 pm weekdays and 5-7 on Saturdays.  I land on the Market Fish Taco ($8) which has grilled seasonal market fish (today it’s salmon), pineapple, avocado, spicy black bean cream (which turns out to be purple), oven-dried tomato chutney, green cabbage, cilantro, pita bread tortillas.  I know, too much, right.  You can hardly distinguish flavors.  And given this ingredient list, you’d expect a big soggy mess, wouldn’t you. Admittedly, the liquid does drip out of the taco but the pita bread tortilla is fantastic.  It holds it shape, it doesn’t get soggy.

For a Thursday night the place is not that busy.  My friend is a no-show so I amuse myself with Occupy Boston’s facebook discussion on if and how Obama is like Nixon.  Most of the comments are way off topic and long. 
As I’m enjoying my tacos, the bar manager comes over to inquire if everything is OK.  He informs me that Andrei’s is a non-profit restaurant.  The owner’s son, who died in a car accident, had some degenerative eye disease and all the restaurant’s profits go to a charity in support of finding a cure. They also source their ingredients locally.

Bartender returns after he leaves with a free drink sample. I have no idea what it is.  Vodka (of course), lycee agave, passion fruit puree.  Too sweet and fruity for me and I don’t mix browns and whites so leave all but one sip in the glass.   

No comments:

Post a Comment