If there’s any dish you must order at Greek restaurants such as this one, it’s saganaki. Despite being served in a Teflon pan whose surface has been scratched up by the scrapes of too many metal spoons, the square of fried cheese still comes with the requisite theatrics of a tableside flambé and shouts of “Opa!” by the servers doing the igniting. The restaurant offers two kinds: Both have the outer surface of the firm cheese seared to a savory brown crust, but opt for the honey glazed saganaki over the original. This way, you’ll have something to mop with the extra pita bread when the last morsel of cheese is history. It’s best to spend most of your money and appetite on Taverna Blu’s other small plates. There’s a bowl of Greek meatballs, four orbs that yield two mouthfuls each, smothered in a bold, chunky tomato sauce tart enough to pierce through the densely packed fists of ground beef. For the Green Eggs and Gyros, a perfectly cooked, sunny-side-up egg wearing a halo of pesto sauce drapes the shaved petals of the spit-roasted gyro meat, the whole thing riding a single crostini that you’re supposed to cut up yourself if you intend to share it. The kitchen won’t disturb the perfect state of the yolk by doing it for you, but it does slice up the short-rib crostini into quarters, which is the perfect size in which to eat them since the meat gets a little salty in larger amounts.
With all due respect to the Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Chang's, the past few years have seen a renaissance for Irvine Spectrum's food scene. Don Bren's most accessible and populist retail shopping center hasn't experienced such a noticeable... More »
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