Stacked Huntington Beach Showcases Spring Selections
Seasonal changes bring menu swaps for restaurants that want to highlight the importance of their ingredients and seasonality. With the recent opening of Stacked in Huntington Beach came also the understanding that we folks in Orange County are cognizant and desirous of menu shifts every few months. For a restaurant that clamors the "Food Well Built" motto as well as prominently displaying on their physical menus the verbiage of "Why are there no prices on the menu? Because we're ingredient-centric!," it is no surprise that Stacked had a few special selections up their sleeve for spring that still maintain their customizable organization. We haven't been to a Stacked before but had heard of their restaurant concept that allows you to build what you want, however you want it, so we were happy to check out their spring menu upon invitation.
If you haven't been to Stacked or heard of it before, you might find their system interesting. It is still a sit-down restaurant with waitstaff but all orders are placed through a tablet system that allows people to customize their orders in every which way. Want a different sauce for your burger? No problem. Don't like a specific ingredient in your salads? Remove it and replace it with something you enjoy! As you are going through the interactive menu, you also can see all of the price changes with every adjustment you make. It seems like diners would then become more mindful of everything they're doing with the food. The particular Stacked restaurant we visited was in Huntington Beach near Bella Terra and certainly outfitted with a look and feel suitable for the area. Wide open windows gave a very indoor-outdoor feel to everything, and the wood and amber glass construction contributed to a nostalgic beachside restaurant vibe.
Since we were there to check out the spring menu, we only browsed through the other menu options before settling on the specials. What we gathered from the vast amount of choices was that this was the place to be if you have a variety of friends with varying preferences. How could a big group of people not each find something they could like there? For those you know who love pesto and arugula, by the way, there were all these goodies for the season to choose from.
To properly tour the spring selections, we decided to just order them as is with no customizations. We started off with the Basil Pesto and Wild Arugula Flatbread ($11.16 - basil pesto, Italian dressing, red onion, wild arugula, grape tomatoes, Mozzarella, and Feta). Other Stacked locations had this item as a pizza but Huntington Beach's flatbread version would definitely be enjoyable for the person who wants more bread per bite. The Italian dressing added a tang to the flatbread that cut through the cheese and lit up the fresh vegetables. There was also the Wild Arugula Mediterranean Salad ($8.58 - spring lettuce mix, champagne vinaigrette, Feta, toasted almonds, artichoke hearts, grape tomatoes, green and red bell peppers, and wild arugula) which was light overall but hearty enough with the artichoke hearts and bell peppers.
Now, arugula is not reserved solely for salads and as a light topping. Stacked has a full section of their menu dedicated to mac n cheese because who doesn't love that? The spring special is the Chicken Pesto Mac ($11.85 - mac n cheese, grilled chicken, roasted garlic, mushrooms, Roma tomatoes, Parmesan bread crumbs, and basil pesto), a gooey, cheesy mass of pasta and cheese augmented by the savory garlic and mushrooms added in. We enjoyed how the basil pesto also brought some color to the dish which would otherwise feel immense and thick. The other main entree special was their Pesto Chicken Sandwich ($9.91 - basil pesto mayo, grilled chicken breast, smoked Gouda, Roma tomatoes, Parmesan breadcrumb crisp, wild arugula, and brioche bun), a tower of nice, bright flavors in a savory dish. Because the pesto had been incorporated into a mayo, it melded together all of the other ingredients well and the wild arugula in place of typical lettuce in a salad gave a more nuanced, peppery note than had it been just red leaf.
Overall, the spring menu definitely jumped on some recurring flavors and ingredients for the season and we're interested to see what else crops up as the next few months fly by!
Photography by Duc Duong. More photos available on Facebook here.