We’ve driven by Maro Wood Grill for a while now and never had the opportunity to check it out, so when they invited us in for a visit, I seized the chance to try them. The restaurant is cute and vibrant and although there’s not much parking, it wasn’t hard for us to find parking on the street.
The restaurant is owned by Mariano Molteni, or “Maro” and he’s there watching over things, and greeting his customers. In the kitchen, it is executive chef Debra Sims, and their collaboration is a wood-fired style of cooking featuring Argentinian flavors, although I noticed some Californian themes as well.
We started with Maro Edamame ($8), mesquite fired soy beans sprinkled with coarse Sonoma sea salt. The wood-fire coated the edamame with a smokiness that was unique and tasty.
The same goes for the Mesquite Grilled Mini Peppers ($8), charred shishito peppers served with a horseradish aioli.
There are four different Empanadas ($3.50 each) to choose from and we sampled spicy chicken, beef and spinach. My favorites were the spinach and chicken. The crust is not at all greasy and taste very home made.
Hangar Steak ($33), an 8oz Paso piece of prime steak was nicely flavored (grass fed beef) but a tad chewy. I loved the house made chimichurri sauce spooned over it and wanted more. I had misread the menu and thought the Maytag blue cheese was on the steak, but it was in fact a vinaigrette for the organic mesclun leaves, red onions and organic tomato salad.
I loved the Mesquite Grilled Lamb ($32), three young Australian lamb chops, again topped with house made chimichurri and served with roasted Brussels sprouts. For three chops it was slightly pricey, but it was delicious.
The Maro Burger ($14.50) reads like a gourmet delight on the menu: 8oz grass fed ground beef, artisan potato bun, Nueske bacon, aged white cheddar, little gem lettuce, Rosso Bruno tomatoes, pickled onions, house made aioli, house made coleslaw. All you need to know is it is juicy with a great smokey char and simply, a very good burger.
The food here is simple, using the freshest and best ingredients they’re able to find. There are no pretenses here, it’s not fussy food, what you see is what you get!
Maro Wood Grill
1915 S Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach, CA 92651