Eatery - Chapter One: The Modern Local (CA)

227 N Broadway, Santa Ana, CA 92701
Pricing - $$/$$$ | Dining - Casual | Cuisine - American, Gastropub

*NOTE: I went during OC Beer Week so the prices listed will not reflect the everyday prices of the restaurant.

I had actually been wanting to check out Chapter One for a while (they shoot for local ingredients!) so when I saw their name pop up on the list of restaurants available during OC Beer Week, I knew I had to go. My friends and I went on the very first night of Beer Week so they only brought out the menus once I asked. Service was surprising unfair to the waitress because she was the only one working the whole restaurant on a Sunday evening. The poor girl. We were a party of 12 but we weren't the only large group there that night. Since Duc and I weren't too hungry but quite curious as to the restaurant's offerings, we opted to snag two appetizers and a dessert.

Our first order to come out was the mini mac & cheese which was $12 when paired with a bottle of La Fin de Monde Trippel from Unibroue. They offer a larger version of this dish for $10 on their regular menu and though the size was depressing at first when we saw the mini, we soon realized that the dish itself was very rich and heavy. A mini hit the spot just right actually. It was a lovely concoction of white Cheddar and Fontina cheeses, macaroni, smoked bacon, fried onions, truffle oil, and toasted panko crumbs on top. Certainly a stomach filler. The panko crumbs added a nice crust to the baked cheesy goodness, and the truffle oil made it so savory. Great combination choice of bacon with those cheeses. I enjoyed the presentation with a burnt piece of paper underneath the bowl too. 

Our second appetizer that came out was off of the regular menu; the choice was based off of Yelp reviews that praised the potato pear. According to Chapter One's menu, it is a "pear-shaped, riced potato stuffed w/
duxelle, panko crust" and in a "wild mushroom marsala cream sauce." Sounds heavenly right? It certainly was. I've always wanted a potato ricer (and still do) because of the texture it creates. The potato was very nicely fluffy yet creamy at the same time. The chef prepared the panko crust perfectly as it complemented the interior delightfully. Nice presentation too with the piece of arugula as a stem!

The dessert that we wanted to get ended up not being available so we ordered the eggplant and portabella burger in lieu of sweetness. We were still hungry because the portions at Chapter One aren't huge. This burger ("tofu & eggplant ratatouille, balsamic marinated portabella mushroom, provolone cheese, garlic-tomato relish, basil aioli" with house salad) was pretty good but tasted a bit too much like a vegetable lasagna. It was the ratatouille that did it in. It was good but not what we were expecting. I didn't manage to snag a picture of it though because we were just hungry enough to eat it before I remembered to snap a shot. Overall, a great experience but definitely not one where a person could expect to get full for cheap!