Several friends and I decide to check out the new restaurant, Saint Marc, at Pacific City. I have no pre-conceived notions about the restaurant, knowing absolutely nothing about it when we arrive. I like the decor and its clean, open layout. There is a sign at the entrance indicating that you find a table and seat yourself.
We find a spot but are quickly confused. The menus on the table do not indicate prices, and there is an iPad on the table. A staff member comes over and gives us a run-down on how Saint Marc’s concept works. You order your food via the iPad, and the food will come out as it is ready from the various “stations” including a “Bacon Bar”, possibly the restaurant’s best draw.
If you’re not tech savvy, the restaurant will become very frustrating, very quickly. We start by ordering some drinks, then proceed to figure out what we want to eat. We are especially confused over the price of coffee on the iPad, and after questioning a member of staff, we come to find that there are two prices depending on size, but you have to keep tapping the screen. If you want iced tea, make sure you choose the correct option because there is one for a “single glass”, and another which offers refills.
While you’re deciding, you can munch on house-baked rolls which the staff will bring around sporadically. We receive a basket of soft rolls, but I see other types floating around.
Apart from the 11 styles of bacon on the menu under BACON BAR, the rest, includes BACON BITES and CULINARY CREATIONS among others. However, upon further observation, the menu isn’t as creative as it presents itself to be. It takes us a very long time to decide what we want to eat, not really feeling like grilled cheeses, salads or soups.
Since bacon seems to be the key element here, we agree to start with a few bacon items, plus a couple of others to start. You can’t go wrong with Bacon Wrapped Dates ($8) and these chive cream cheese stuffed dates — five to an order — are wrapped with bacon, drizzled with maple syrup, are just as we expect them to be.
Next comes Rumaki ($7 for 2 pieces), a variation of the “traditional” rumaki which consists of duck or chicken liver wrapped in bacon. Here, the liver is swapped for chicken, which unfortunately is extremely dry.
The best bacon pick comes in the form of Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos ($5 each). The peppers are nice and spicy, perhaps a tad too spicy for my friends, but not me. They’re stuffed with cream cheese and topped with agave.
Saint Marc Cheesy Bread ($7) is a small loaf of bread topped with cheese and herbs. It’s just okay.
The Swineboard ($23) comes on a cute pig-shaped board with some crispy bacon, a few slices of meats (the ones you’ll find on the muffuletta), a handful of nuts, honeycomb, pickled asparagus, peppers and some grain mustard.
On the topic of Muffuletta ($11), the one here is not a true muffuletta, but rather, a cold cut sandwich. The “giardiniera” consists only of olives devoid of any pickled vegetables, which technically, is tapenade, not giardiniera. The bread is toasted and the tapenade sandwiched between the cheese and the meat means it is not soaked into the bread. As far as a sandwich goes, it is fine, but it is definitely NOT a muffuletta.
Homemade Biscuits and Gravy ($9) is a generous portion — compared to the rest of our order — of UNfluffy cheddar biscuits topped with extremely salty sausage gravy. I have a very salty palate, so when I find something salty, it’s SALTY! The large grainy and flat texture of the biscuits is unlike any biscuits I’ve ever encountered, and not in a good way. The flavor isn’t bad, but it simply isn’t a biscuit.
I think the most frustrating aspect of the whole experience comes in the form of eating with the spork and knife provided. I am not six years old, a fork is not going to hurt me. Spooning your food is a weird and unpleasant way to eat.
Quite frankly, the menu is rather overpriced for an eatery that doesn’t offer full service. In fact, you don’t even get to ORDER through a person. The only service you’re getting is a runner bringing your food to you. The whole concept might seem forward-thinking in theory, however, the experience is a completely different story.
21058 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92648