Monday, March 14, 2005

Cafe Hiro - Cypress - again!

This place has become my favorite restaurant in O.C. for good food, presentation, and price. This is probably the third time I reviewed this place for Chowhound, and the umpteenth time I've eaten there.

We were there on Friday and had a reservation at 7, but came late. About thirty minutes late. Unfortunately that was late enough that they gave our table away. But I thought that was fair. People with 7:30 reservations, who arrived on time, got seated right away. It's nice that reservations actually mean something here.

We waited an extra 10 minutes before an unreserved table opened up. We were given this table before another couple, who came before us but didn't have a reservation. Their system worked nicely, I thought. The couple in front of us got their seats shortly afterward.

A busy night, but the wait staff kept everyone happy.

We ordered one entree off the specials menu and one from the regular menu. The special entree for that night was SAUTEED MONKFISH WITH GARLIC RISOTTO AND SUNDRIED TOMATO ($15.00). We also ordered the OSSO BUCCO ($15.00).

The entrees came with their wonderful and creamy SWEET POTATO SOUP, which was light adobe red, and piping hot. A GREEN SALAD WITH GINGER MISO DRESSING came out afterward. Fresh greens, a spicy dressing, perfect for priming the tastebuds for the entrees.

The monkfish was alright. The white flesh was cooked just right, but lacked much flavor. The freakish giant bone that held the meat together was a little scary. This, as you might have guessed, was the first time we've had monkfish. The risotto was cooked correctly, but in my opinion, wasn't as creamy or full bodied as their usual mushroom risotto. My favorite fish dish there is still the Salmon Saiko.

The osso bucco was dreamy, as always. We love this dish. A big hunk of falling apart tender beef, in a pool of dark gravy (or is it a reduction). It came with a separate side of roasted potatoes and corn nibblets. The beef was perfect, eaten with white rice. I've heard some people comment that this dish was too salty for them, or too overcooked and soft, but for my money, this was the dish. Loved it!

The highlight of the meal was the special dessert of the night. CROISSANT BREAD PUDDING WITH CARAMEL SAUCE AND CHOCOLATE ($5). This simply is the best dessert I've ever had, anywhere! I hope they put it on the regular menu. It came on a large plate. A mound of warm, brown bread pudding, drizzled with caramel sauce and studded with melted chocolate chips. The combination of flavors just kind of melted in your mouth and filled your senses. Simple in origin, but elegant in flavor. Sinful but suprisingly not heavy.

We also ordered a GREEN TEA BLANC MANGER ($4.00). And it was just as good as always, but since we tasted the bread pudding first, it's now relagated to our second favorite dessert at Cafe Hiro.

Cafe Hiro
(714) 527-6090
10509 Valley View St
Cypress, CA 90630

P.S. I found some cool looking photos a fellow diner took on a recent visit to Cafe Hiro.


At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried this place also and it's delicious. I tried the Yellow tail head special, can't remember the full name (it was long) but I loved it. The place is pretty small and thus you are seated pretty close to others and the portions won't exactly fill you up, but I feel like it's gourmet food without the killer price. Awesome place.

At 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgot to say thanks Monster Munching for the recommendation!

At 4:31 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...

You're welcome!!!

At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for linking my photos of Cafe Hiro! I love that place. I'm there tonight again and will take more photos.

At 7:01 AM, Blogger elmomonster said...


And thanks for taking those beautiful photos! You have truly an expert eye!

Please let me know when you have more photos. With your permission this time, I'd like to link those too!

At 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i went to cafe hiro to celebrate my birthday last night...and it was everything that i expected it to be plus MORE! i was initially a bit disappointed that they ran out of the ahi tuna tartare with japanese yam and poached egg dish that i was so looking forward to try, (thanks to BonnyK's amazing pictures), but the other two appetizers were full of surprises. the beef tataki seared just right, the thickness gave the meat justice and carried the sauce well. we woo-ed and wow-ed the moment my friend and i put it in our mouths. the seabass and shitake mushroom spring roll was impeccable. the skin not too thick, the shiso leaf inside brought out the sweetness and freshness of the fish, and every ingredient just complimented each other perfectly. the two spaghetti we ordered was nothing less than satisfying. i ordered the baby spinach and uni, and my friend ordered the one with manila clams. we finished every piece of noodle and i wanted to lick my bowl for the last morsel of uni there was...

thanks so much for the review and recommendation, (and BonnyK's artistic and enticing photos). i guess the most irresistible quality of this restaurant is the price. we passed dessert and paid $45 (tip included). talk about great value for money! i will definitely be back again and again coz i want to try every dish on the menu, not to mention their specials!

p.s. yes, go try GAJA, i'll go check out EBISU too. :) happy munching!

At 2:57 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Yaaay! Another Cafe Hiro fan! I'm glad you liked it and I agree, Cafe Hiro is such a bargain for the quality of the food.

I think it's time for me to go again tonight! It's already been a month since I've back...I'm way overdue.

Oh, but I do have to warn you about the duck breast and the hamburg steak they offer there -- these two dishes are not horrible (per se), but not nearly as good as it could be.

The duck and the hamburg steak is, in my opinion, their least successful dish - somewhat disappointing actually, considering how well they do their other dishes.

At 3:00 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


BTW, thanks for taking the time to write your review on your experience at Cafe Hiro.

It's good to know that the pastas are good too...and I've got to try that beef tataki!

Believe it or not, eventhough I'm a regular there, I have not ordered any of the pasta dishes...ever. But I keep hearing about their uni pasta...must do it on my next trip.


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