Thursday, July 14, 2016

How do you say "Brewery & Grille" in Spanish?

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to dine at the new Laguna Beach Brewery & Grille in Downtown Laguna Beach. My husband and I have been anxiously awaiting the opening ever since Ocean Avenue Brewery closed down and new owners started the renovation. We had a long conversation one afternoon with proprietor Brad Bacon, who was telling us all about the upscale pub food he was going to serve. As big fans of tasty, hearty meals, our mouths were watering with anticipation. He seemed pumped about all the plans and he got us pumped too; however, according to an L.A. Times article that I found after we dined, it appears that he parted ways from the owners. This might explain why when we ate dinner there the other night, we were extremely confused. First of all, the entire menu is Mexican... every single dish. We love Mexican food, but with Carmelita's, El Ranchito, Tortilla Republic, two La Sirena locations, Laguna Feast, Taco Loco, Coyote Grill, Adolfo's, Wahoo's, etc., do we really need another Mexican restaurant here? We need good bar food! We don't have that many options! The name of the place completely throws you off. Why would Laguna Beach Brewery & Grille be a Mexican restaurant? They'll get tourists based on a google search, but will they return and will the establishment get repeat local customers? I'm not sure. They did a nice renovation of the inside and patio, but the red stools look cheesy and cheap. Don't get me wrong... I love red leather, but these look more like red vinyl. Now, if you get past the whole name/cuisine confusion, how's the food? Well, it's different... in a good way. They're calling it Regional Mexican Cuisine, so you may have many questions when reading the menu. Unfortunately, the waiters, though friendly, didn't have most of the answers to our questions. They kept having to "go check". I will say the steak taco on a crunchy flat tortilla was delicious and I did enjoy the appetizer with tortillas, beans, guacamole, salsa and cheese, but they pretty much give you that when you sit down, so it wasn't really necessary. The salad with the oranges was fine and I liked the chicken quesadilla well enough, but our 11-year-old son just thought it was mediocre. The Cadillac Margarita was good, but it didn't knock my socks off. So, all in all, would I go back? Yes, but I would wait a little longer till they get in the swing of things. Is it a place I will frequent and highly suggest to my friends? Not really. It's completely adequate, but not what I was hoping. And with all the businesses that open and close in Laguna Beach, it should be better than adequate to survive. I do wish the owners all the best, because it's a great location and I'm always looking for patio dining in Laguna. So, I leave it to you. Check it out for yourself and please share your feelings with us here at Lynda Laguna. Until then, cheers... er, I mean, salud!

Laguna Beach Brewery & Grille is located at 237 Ocean Avenue in Laguna Beach diagonal from the Wells Fargo building.

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