Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Lost, But Found Our Way @ Tan Cang Newport Seafood Restaurant (Santa Ana)

For about 25 excoriating minutes, I thought we were going to be lost and can't find this restaurant. My buddy was going to be the host of this dinner and somehow we got lost trying to find this restaurant.

My pal Greg and I were waiting for people to show up as we were getting lonely with me looking out for cars coming into the parking lot hoping each car was driven by a familiar friendly face. The place was like a fish market with large fish tanks showing crab fish and a very small limit of a menu. The menu was tacky with the floor and walls needing a few remodeling suggestions. It was dingy and getting depressing with minutes going by. It felt like you were setting up a huge birthday party and nobody came. It was getting bad.....

Then we found out we were at the wrong address.

OK, first some of you or many of you who don't know Santa Ana. Apparently there are two Newport Seafood restaurants. One was up north of 1st Street that mysterious turned into Bolsa Ave. The Bolsa Ave location is called Newport Seafood To Go. We should have picked up on that, but we didn't. The text messages from our companions made us realized we were at the wrong location.

When we finally came to the right place, it was a sigh of huge relief and little bit more cheerful. Obviously Greg and I were very embarrassed about the whole episode of waiting in the wrong restaurant...and cursing at people who were supposedly late (they weren't). We tried to forget it as fast as possible as I'm begging to order the food once we were seated at this tiny, but comfortable restaurant.

We eventually ordered:

*The utmost mentioned item, the lobsters. At $16 per pound (at the time), was the most expensive in our list and cost about more than half of our bill. It was worth it as it was very delicious, but it was also over-ordered. For its worth, I think when going to this restaurant, people should definitely ordered the lobster.

Deep Fried Lobster

*Bo Luc Lac. This Vietnamese shaking beef was a very popular dish among our group. The neatly cut marinated beef goes well with the lime sauce that was provided. I noticed none of us used the veggie as it would have complimented well with the beef.

Bo Luc Lac

*Walnut Shrimp. The savory mayonnaise sauce buttered up the jumbo sized shrimp was a little thick and slippery. It was also probably the 2nd most popular dish after the lobster according to our dining companions of the night. Probably would've been called "Slippery Shrimp", but I figured Yang Chow restaurant owned that phrase. Ha!

Walnut Shrimp

*Deep Fried Tofu. The Tofu was my personal favorite of the night along with the lobster. Dip in that soy sauce pan, it taste crunchy on the outside but silky on the inside, goes well with the other dishes. If it was stinky like the Taiwanese variety, I would have felt that tofu was made at home. Nonetheless, it still had made an impression with me.

Deep Fried Tofu

*Stir Fried Water Spinach. The dish was ordered because of affirmative action as we didn't want all meat dish. Got to throw in a veggie and make it a complete meal and this was worth it. Also did not want to make any undercover vegetarian unhappy.

Stirred Fried Water Spinach

As I was busting out my camera to take these pictures, I noticed our service gotten a lot better. All of the sudden, there were three servers that was catering to our needs. I don't know if they thought I was going to do something with the pictures, but the fact I was taking a picture of all the food that was served...did rattled their cage a bit.

Yes, the service was definitely excellent throughout the night. I'm not quite sure on if this was the norm because it felt a little contrived on that they have to make this a good impression. I know they felt a little uncomfortable of the picture taking of their food.

Overall, I did really enjoyed the meal. Very expensive, but mostly because of the lobster being over-ordered. I would recommend the Deep Fried Tofu and Stir Fried Spinach to go along with the big course Lobster. That would make a complete feast.

Spicy Squid (not spicy nor memorable)

As in for the question of the previous mistaken restaurant. I did felt bad about making a Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid getaway from that place pretending to get out of parking lot as if we were hitting the Mexican border. I probably need to make a return visit because I felt really bad at abandoning the "to-go" place that was in Westminster.

Just make sure you turn south on 1st street and not hit up north as it will turn to Bolsa Ave. They both have the same Newport Seafood sign, but the places are completely different. One is a dining restaurant, the other is a take out place.

Tan Cang Newport Seafood Restaurant
4411 W 1st St
Santa Ana, CA 92703
(714) 531-5146


Newport Seafood on Urbanspoon


Nate @ House of Annie said...

Aside from the shaking beef, the rest of the dishes looks very Cantonese.

Funny that you noticed the service getting better when the camera came out. I wonder if they thought you were going to make them famous.

Right Way to Eat said...

Hi Annie,

They are very Cantonese, other than some of the dishes that was shown.

Honestly, they were nervous thinking I am either a spy for their competitor or a health inspector. LOL

Anonymous said...

i love walnut shrimp! totally tasty! and exactly how expensive was this place?

Right Way to Eat said...

Hey Susy,

At $16 per pound, we wound up spending over $280 on lobsters alone. We have about 13 people that night and everyone spend $44 each for the total bill including tip and tax. The lobster was the big dent on our bill. All of the other plates are reasonable around $7-9.

I didn't want to name names on who ordered the quantities of the plates (only because he read this. :P).

Anonymous said...

Hi pepsimonster,
Tan Cang is a Vietnamese Chinese restaurant. For Vietnamese Vietnamese restaurant, I would recommend trying Quan Hy on Bolsa that serves Central VN's food, definitely not the only but perhaps one of the better restaurants around westminster area. I think chubbypanda already had a review here. The appertizers are the best (my personal fav is "banh it ram"). http://www.chubbypanda.com/2006/12/quan-hy-westminster-ca-eating.html

Right Way to Eat said...

Hi MyCollegeKitchen,

Yes, thank you very much for the reminder! Quan Hy at Westminster had been getting a lot of buzz lately and was on my radar as a place to try.

"banh it ram" will be on my items to order when I get there. Thanks for the link and suggestions!