If you haven’t been to 4th Street Market lately, there are new additions, and well worth a visit. One of the new residents is Off The Hoof (OTH), brought to you by the guys who run Electric City Butcher (ECB). At OTH, you’ll find an array of meat-centric dishes that showcases all the fantastic things that Michael Puglisi (photo by Anne Watson) and his team have been bringing Orange County over at ECB.
I wake up at 6.30am on Saturdays to head to the Irvine Farmers Market before the crazy crowds show up. My son thinks I’m crazy that I wake up an hour earlier on Saturday than I do on weekdays for work. It is well worth it because I get the best pickings and I have produce to last me a week. I feel the same way about where I get the rest of my meal from. If you’re like me, you want to know where your beef comes from, and how it’s raised, treated, and slaughtered. If you’ve ever visited ECB, you’ll know that everything is responsibly sourced, and sustainable.
At OTH, you’ll find sandwiches, and barbecue…. Meats that are personally prepared by the ECB team.
The menu is simple. There are five sandwiches — three on the kids menu — four sides, as well as daily specials.
Muffuletta ($13) — I’m a huge fan of this classic sandwich, and whenever I’m in New Orleans, I make sure to bring a whole wheel of muffuletta from Central Grocery. The muffuletta here is solid, with all the flavors melding together perfectly, and a bread that stands up to all the ingredients enveloped within.
Cubano ($12) — Don’t get me started on how difficult it is to find a good Cubano in Orange County. When I first moved to OC, I relied on Yelp to find the best places to eat at. I found a great Cuban sandwich at De Simone Deli in Huntington Beach, but haven’t returned often because I’m just too lazy to drive to Huntington. Puglisi’s Cubano is excellent, and I love how balanced all the flavors are. His pork is smoked in-house, and evokes all the meaty elements you’d want, whether it is in a sandwich, or on its own.
Beef Dip ($14) — Inspired by the French dip, this beef dip is a meat lovers’ delight. The best part is the jus — meaty, rich mouthfeel and bold flavors — which you’ll definitely want to dip your sandwich in!
Patty Melt ($14) — This all-American sandwich consists of a rectangular patty topped with caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms.
Fried Mortadella ($7) on the kids menu is one of those very comforting things that’ll zap you right back to your childhood.
Don’t skip the sides because they’re exceptionally good. Tallow Fries ($4) are a must because, well, it’s fries perfection! It’s one of those things that’s hard to resist. I also love their house-made ketchup — and I absolutely detest ketchup! I’ve had all the house-made ketchups you’ll find on menus around OC, but this is so far, my favorite.
The reason why I loved everything here is because it is not sweet. I generally stay away from beans because, well, they’re sweet. The Meaty Beans ($4) here are spicy and SO good. I have never eaten an entire side of beans from a barbecue restaurant before!
I make a pretty good potato salad — if I say so myself — and the Tater Salad ($4) here is damn good. Great potato texture, and flavors are well-balanced.
House Slaw ($4) is the only side which needed just a touch more acid and salt. The crunchy texture is lovely, and does a stellar job cleansing the palate between bites.
On the weekends, you’ll find ribs ($18/4pc $28/8pc) and chicken ($28 1/2 chicken plate) barbecued to perfection. I’m not a fan of most barbecue, but OTH has changed my perception of “there’s not good BBQ in OC”. I’m not a fan of ‘wet’ barbecue, and the ‘dry’ ribs here pretty much appeal to me in more ways than I can describe.
This is a spectacular place to get some very tasty barbecue in a very casual environment. Go check it out, you won’t regret it.
Off the Hoof
4th Street Market
201 E 4th Street
Santa Ana, CA 92701