My husband recently discovered that there are certain restaurants in our area which have a “ghost menu.” Items the chefs are willing to whip up for guests, but only if you know what to ask for. His immediate request? A grilled cheese sandwich. I couldn’t help but laugh. All the choices in the world awaited, including some of the best kept secret recipes of city’s cooking elite, and he picks a grilled cheese. His response? “You can’t ever go wrong with comfort food.”
He was right. And that’s exactly what EATS Kitchen & Bar at the Hotel Irvine offers: except that instead of a ghost menu, the entire regular menu is chock full of comfort-food-gone-gourmet. Forget the stale pub-concept eatery and remix the classics with the chef’s creative take on all your favorite staple foods - his culinary passion is evident in his mouthwatering signature burgers, regional specialties and tapas-style small bites. Right alongside delicious craft beers, intriguing wines, and signature handcrafted cocktails. Featuring indoor and outdoor spaces to lounge and linger, including an outdoor fire pit, EATS takes the foods your Mom fed you on your birthday and family holidays, and serves them up with vibrant decor and a circular bar centerpiece.
Featuring expansive indoor and outdoor spaces, cozy booths and an alfresco patio with fire pit, EATS Kitchen & Bar decor draws inspiration from all over the world. Chef Jeff combines international flavors with local, farm-fresh ingredients to create a menu that is decidedly original and delicious. For starters, we opted for the Butcher’s Board - the chef’s selection of artisan meats, grilled sourdough and house pickles.
The signature EATS burger was worth writing home about - and that’s really saying something since my husband is quite the connoisseur (his burger arrived on a brioche bun with smoked bacon, Tillamook cheddar, house aioli and onion bacon jam - wonderful flavors you might not think to pair. My steak wedge was a equally flavorful, inventive blend of grilled sirloin, pancetta, blistered tomatoes, capers, pickled red onion, chives and Point Reyes blue cheese dressing. House specialties range from the steelhead salmon with beluga lentils, wilted spinach and lemon caper butter and red wine braised beef short ribs accompanied by house fries and coleslaw to the prime flat-iron steak paired smoked bacon, fingerling potatoes, broccolini and chimichurri.
We sampled each of the three “sweets” - a warm brown butter chocolate chip cookie with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge and a chocolate mud pie with nutella creme anglaise. I’m not generally a fan of butterscotch, but the butterscotch pot de creme with salted caramel was smooth, rich dessert worth writing home about.
EATS Kitchen & Bar
in the Hotel Irvine is located at 17900 Jamboree Road in Irvine.
For reservations or more information, call (888) 230-4452 or visit hotelirvine.com