The Recess Room launched lunch service this week with a new fast casual concept that gets you in and out the door swiftly. A blackboard menu at the door allows for those in line to peruse the menu easily, and once you reach the front of the line, you order directly from the host/hostess at the stand. You’re assigned a number which you will then place on your table, and your food is brought out to you once it is ready.
We were able to try many of the items on the menu, which incidentally, are all available to-go, except for one item which I will explain later.
There were many items which caught my eye. Shaken Beef ($14) my son’s favorite, is a tasty offering of wok-tossed beef served with pickled radish, crispy shallots, watercress, and a light tomato salad. The combination of all the flavors are tantalizing, and the seasonings on the beef was on point. I love the fresh accoutrements which balances out the hearty flavors of the beef.
Fried Chicken Adobo ($12) is one of my favorites, incorporating garlic rice, crispy shallot, crispy garlic, mixed herbs, pickled onion, and pickled cucumber together. The fried chicken is drizzled with adobo sauce and possesses a nice crispy crunch from the coating. The acid from the pickled onions and cucumbers is fantastic! I always love plates that have a perfect balance of flavors with that hit of acid to even out the cacophony of flavors.
I’m not a fan of pork belly by any means, but Pork Belly Banh Mi ($12) takes it to a whole new level. The crispy roast pork is a melange of textures and when combined with Thai chili jam, mixed herbs, and jalapeno, creates not only a pleasant mouthfeel, but it is such a joy to eat.
Thai Tots ($3) — well, no words are needed when it comes to tater tots.
I was craving a salad, so I asked if I am able to order the Chef’s Daily Selection ($10) but add tandoori chicken ($4) instead of simply chicken. There is a tandoori chicken salad on the menu so they were able to oblige my request.
My friend ordered the Bone Marrow Burger ($15) using a grass fed beef patty, and topped with bone marrow butter and bacon jam. It is unctuously decadent and may put you to sleep when you return to the office, but hell it’s good!
One of the most interesting items on the menu is Sizzling Platter ($16) which is not available for take-out. I didn’t understand the dish until I asked owner Victor Nguyen who tells me that it is a traditional Vietnamese dish commonly eaten during breakfast (or brunch) consisting filet mignon, Cognac pepper sauce, albondigas meatballs, longonisa sausage, fried egg, and sliced baguette. The meatballs are perfection, in taste, and texture. Longonisa sausage is nicely charred, and the pepper sauce is so tasty I wanted more of it. Let the baguette soak up all of the precious sauce and then pop it in your mouth!
If you’re in the Fountain Valley area and looking for a great lunch spot, you’ve found it!
The Recess Room
18380 Brookhurst St
Fountain Valley, CA 92708