I’m not sure why I always forget about Lazy Dog Restaurant — the last time I was there, it was still “cafe”. It has been rather long since I last visited, and if memory serves me correctly, I enjoyed my meal there. Several weeks ago, I was invited to try some of the new fall menu items and was pleasantly surprised at how much has changed.
We begin the meal with some cocktails, but to be honest, I’d much rather just get straight to the food. While I enjoy a cocktail or two, the main reason I dine out is …. food!
We start with Crispy Deviled Eggs ($5.95) which are coated and lightly fried. The traditional creamy center is on top of the crispy exterior which adds layers of textures to the mix. As you know, I’m all about texture, so this was definitely a good start to the meal. The deviled eggs are topped with smoked paprika and decadent bacon candy.
Roasted Winter Veggies ($6.95) is autumn in a skillet. Brussels sprouts, carrots, sweet potatoes, red onions, are roasted until they are slightly caramelized. Luscious burrata is added, as well as candied pumpkin seeds, pomegranate and thyme. I love vegetables and couldn’t stop eating it. While I love burrata, the vegetables are so good on their own I honestly didn’t even need the added cheese.
For my vegetarian friends, Spaghetti Squash & Beetballs ($13.95) might just be that item that makes you stop and sigh. Low carbers can also relish in this as spaghetti squash and zucchini ribbons stand in place of pasta. These delightful strands are tossed with olive oil, garlic, marinara sauce, and served with vegetarian meatballs. To be honest, I loved everything about this dish, except the beetballs. I find absolutely no fault with the flavor, however, the texture is too mushy for me. I’d much prefer a meatball. Everything else beneath the meatballs is simply divine! Topped with Romano cheese, pesto, toasted pumpkin seeds and balsamic reduction, I am happy just eating everything else around the beetballs.
I was convinced I wouldn’t like the PB & J Burger ($13.50) before I’d even tasted it. I’m not a huge burger fan, and the thought of peanut butter and jelly on my meat just didn’t sound appealing. I took a bite of the burger stuffed with grilled half pound beef patty, candied bacon, havarti cheese, peanut butter, grape jelly, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle. Then I took another bite. The peanut butter and jelly did not overpower, nor did they overwhelm the burger. As interestingly odd as it may sound, the flavor profiles work astonishingly well together.
I’m not a huge fan of pork either, so once again, I wasn’t sure I’d like Bone-in Apple-Sage Pork Chops ($19.95). The chops are marinated for 24 hrs, then grilled, and served with roasted winter veggies. The first thing which struck me was how moist and flavorful the pork chops were. Usually, meat is seasoned heavily on the exterior but I am impressed at how thoroughly and evenly the pork tastes.
My favorite dish of the evening is Cornish Game Hen ($17.95). The hen is oven roasted, and is accompanied with carrots and feta, as well as a fabulous sausage and sweet corn stuffing. Apple-sage gravy is served on the side. The hen is executed perfectly, and not the least bit dry. The gravy is so good you’ll want to bathe in it! Just drizzle all over the skillet and call it a night.
Lazy Dog has done a magnificent job in elevating its menu and creating dishes that are comparable — if not better than — its competitors within the same category. If you want to bring your fur babies, you’re welcome to, as long as you’re dining on the patio.
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Lazy Dog Restaurant
13290 Jamboree Road
Irvine, CA 92602