Z'Tejas - Costa Mesa
If I don't often write about chains here, it's not because I don't occasionally go to them, it's because I figure there isn't much more for me to say that you won't already know.
The Z'Tejas chain, for example, has been a staple for South Coast Plaza shoppers for a while now, and was generally regarded among my co-workers for decent if not excellent food. But I'd never been. So that's why I'm writing about it now: because it's new to me and because it allows me to discuss a seasonal item that you might not have known about.
It was called the Southern Crab Salad, a dish that looked good when I decided to order it off their summer menu (translation: just a separate leaflet from the main one) for $15.95, and one that tasted exactly like I hoped it would.
The crab, a bit bland and probably coming out from a can, was otherwise fine, molded atop a cylinder-stack of diced cucumber, avocado and sliced grape tomatoes. It was as light as advertised, the dressing on the side in a soup bowl for dabbing onto any forkful that needed it. There was a bundle of still crisp-tender grilled asparagus and a separate pile of whole Romaine lettuce leaves tossed in a oily dressing that was different from the one I used for the crab stack. My point is that the salad demonstrated an investment in effort than most chains would bother to put into a salad. And because they did, it worked and I loved it.
But the true star of the dish was the deep-fried hard-boiled egg, which, believe it or not, is something this frequent diner has never seen before.
It's not a Scotch egg, which is a different beast. This baby is a plain, perfectly cooked hard-boiled egg with none of that green tint between the yolk and the white, breaded lightly and dropped into hot oil to form a perma-crust of crunch. Yes, the breading slipped off in a hurry with barely a nudge, but because I'm both a sucker for hard-boiled eggs and deep-fried things, it was a thousand times better than a crouton, and in my opinion, automatically makes Z'Tejas better than the average chain.
Z'Tejas Southwestern Grill
3333 Bristol St. Ste. 1876
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
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