Those of you who were fans of Renzo’s A Taste of Peru will be happy to know that he is now at the NBAC Cafe (Newport Beach Athletics Club) running the restaurant on the second floor. Ever since Renzo closed his restaurant, my son has been bugging me about how much he’s missed eating Renzo’s food, so when I found out about NBAC Cafe, I brought him down to see Renzo as well as grab some grub.
Naturally, Renzo was there with his bustling personality filling up the entire restaurant with so much love and just the sound of his voice brought back so many great memories of his little eatery in Irvine.
We started off with soup of the day — Chicken Noodle Soup ($2.75/$3.95) — all home made with bits of goodness swimming in the rich broth.
The Spicy Santa Fe Chicken Wrap ($9.50) was not only vibrant in color, but also, bursting with flavor. Roasted chicken, chipotle mayo, black beans, corn, cilantro, red onions, all rolled up in a sundried tomato tortilla will fill me up if I ate the whole thing, but fortunately, I had a hungry boy with me who devoured the entire thing after I’d taken two bites.
After polishing off the wrap, we proceeded to tackle the Offshore Cubano ($9.95) a delectable version of the Cuban sandwich Renzo used to serve at his restaurant. Turkey, low sodium ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, dijon mustard, light mayo flanked by ciabatta bread is hot, gooey with salty, tart flavor profiles brimming through. I wasn’t letting the kid eat the entire thing this time as I took half and closely guarded it.
As if two sandwiches weren’t enough for the two of us, my son also ordered the JB’s Grilled Cheese “The Founder’s Favorite” ($7.95) comprising pepper Jack cheese (one of the kid’s fave), tomato, sweet Maui onion and avocado on sourdough. Non-greasy and nicely crisp on both sides, this was indeed not just the founder’s favorite, but ours as well. I’ve always liked tomatoes on my grilled cheese, but adding creamy avocado is going to be my new thing now!
But what we really came for was Renzo’s famous ceviche. Peruvian Classic Ceviche ($11.95) is a wild fresh ahi tuna and shrimp mix tossed with thinly sliced red onions, cilantro in a lime marinade. We always ask for spicy but you have the option of mild or medium as well. Sweet potatoes and corn both help diffuse the heat giving it a tangy, mouth puckering finish making you crave it all the more. This was the dish my son has been wanting all along. We fought over every little bit on the plate.
I always tell people, don’t take my word for it, go and try it for yourself. Also, don’t be intimidated by the club entrance, they are well aware that a lot of non-members like to eat at the cafe and they will happily guide you in the right direction should you get lost along the way.
1367 Avocado Avenue
Newport Beach, CA 92660