Is it old? Is it new? That was the question my friend and I asked when we paid a visit to Old Brea Chop House recently. I don’t get to Brea much, but my friend lives nearby, and I have many other friends who live in neighboring cities constantly asking for suggestions when they want to dine out.
The Old Brea Chop House is new and reminiscent of old school steakhouses, the same ones which in recent years, have slowly been disappearing across southern California. I remember many of these still in existence when I first moved to California about 20 years ago, but through the decades, they have been closing to make room for newer, shinier establishments.
I am immediately tickled by the nostalgia of the classic dining room where the feel of old is intertwined with the new, open kitchen concept. We arrive during happy hour, a little before the dining room was ready for service. We opt to sit at the bar for a round of drinks and some appetizers from the happy hour menu.
Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella ($6.95) is a simple, but flavor-packed appetizer using slow roasted tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese, wrapped with a slice of prosciutto, grilled, then drizzled with a balsamic reduction. It is a perfect bite if you’re looking for something to nibble on while enjoying a drink or two.
Lollipop Kale ($12) aren’t exactly lollipops, but a baby version of purple kale. These baby kale buds are brick oven roasted with shallots, and tossed with hazelnuts. I love kale and this is a fun, and very tasty way to eat them.
A bread basket is also offered, and I suggest you pace yourself when digging in. I couldn’t stop myself when munching on the cheese crisps and asked for more. The rolls are also insanely tasty, and the pretzel bread is seriously hard to resist. All I can say is, show some restraint.
We had debated moving into the dining room after 5pm, but were comfortably settled after our appetizers arrived, so we decided to stay put instead. The full menu is offered in the bar during dinner service, so it all worked out.
For our entrees, we wanted to try a steak — since it is a steakhouse and all. The 16oz Center Cut Rib Eye ($58) arrived on an extremely hot plate and unfortunately, overcooked the steak to a well done temperature. Our steak was quickly whisked away and very shortly after, a perfectly cooked medium rare steak arrived. The meat was extremely tender and seasoned impeccably. I would absolutely come back again for the steak alone! It was THAT good. A bulb of roasted garlic accompanied, and made for a splendid accompaniment to the meat.
Whole Grilled Branzino ($39) is de-boned, then butterflied, before it is grilled. The fish is flaky and moist, and ideal for someone who is looking for a well-executed non-meat item. Served with a light creamy lemon sauce.
We also ordered some side dishes with our meal. Wild & Field Mushrooms ($12) was a melange of shiitake, shimeiji and maitake mushrooms sauteed in butter.
I highly recommend Sauteed Spinach ($12), which is a simple dish but brimming with flavor. There is also a creamed spinach on the menu if you are into that.
I couldn’t resist the OBCH Fries ($14) fried in beef tallow. These are very long thick cut fries, and are absolutely delicious!! A must-order.
I really enjoyed the overall experience at Old Brea Chop House, especially the ambiance and atmosphere of the restaurant. Service is attentive, and the menu is that of a solid steakhouse that has been elevated to suit the times. A stellar addition to Brea, indeed.
Old Brea Chop House
180 S Brea Blvd
Brea, CA 92821