Taco’Bout a Good Time
Written by: Steven Miranda – Certified Cicerone®
Photos Provided by: Richard A. Kroening
As I stepped through the door of the modern, upscale taqueria, the crackling sound of chilies grilling on the plancha reached my ear while aromas of fresh herbs and spices evoked memories of my grandmother’s kitchen on a warm summer afternoon. Jimmy Valenzuela, the Bar Manager, promptly greeted me. Jimmy’s enthusiasm for all-thing Descanso was contagious. “I was originally hired on as a consultant, but as I learned about Rob’s vision, I had to be a part of it,” said Jimmy. Rob Arellano is the man behind the vision. What vision, you ask? The Descanso Experience.
In today’s millennial-driven, experience-seeking society, it’s not enough to just serve “good” food and drinks; customers want a unique dining experience, and they’re willing to pay for it. While many restaurants are turning-over their menus, searching for the perfect “flavor,” Descanso is blazing a trail, serving up an enhanced sensory experience and collecting accolades along the way. They’ve recently been voted the Best Mexican Restaurant in Orange County by the Times OC, named one of Orange Coast Magazine’s Best New Restaurants of 2019, Best Date Night by OC Weekly, and the Top Date Spot by Dining Out OC-LB.
A Modern Taqueria
Who let the taco stand inside? I took a double take. Why didn’t I think of that? Simple yet profound. A true interactive dining experience as a street-side Taquero prepares authentic Mexican cuisine on a traditional plancha, allowing guests to see the culinary art unfold right before their eyes. Descanso has become synonymous with “Experience,” and it’s no coincidence. Pull up a seat and see for yourself the five ways that Descanso ensures an enhanced dining experience.
1| Seeing is Believing.
Accolades galore. What’s all the hype about? I had to see it to believe it. Smoke ascended as curtains of flames engulfed the fresh ingredients on the plancha. Smiles embellished the faces of the guests seated around the taco stand. Bi-colored tortillas served as vibrant backdrops to some of Orange County’s most artistic tacos. Blue, brown, and orange hues adorned the modern interior of the taqueria, creating a soft, warm ambiance. At any given moment, you’ll see a street-side Taquero performing culinary tricks over an open plancha. If you’re lucky, you might see bottles flaring as the resident mixologist and bar manager, Jimmy V., whips up one of his beautiful craft cocktails.
2| Sounds Good to Me.
Close your eyes and listen to the sound of a never-ending celebration of the good life. Sizzling meats and veggies, roaring flames, clinking cocktail glasses, excited laughs and giggles, and a carefully curated playlist of Latin music will give you the feel of an authentic Mexican fiesta. If you’re romancing a date, you’ll be pleased to find love in the air as Tian Musica serenades the patio on a Friday night.
3| Smell What’s Cooking?
The open floor plan with four exposed grills propels flurries of intense aroma to travel swiftly throughout the restaurant, provoking your senses as you step inside the modern taqueria. The good thing is, your anticipation will only be that much greater; the bad thing is, the wait will seem that much longer. . . but it’s so worth it!
4| Feels Sensational.
Take a seat at the plancha and feel the heat of the flames kiss your skin, sending a warm sensation through your body. If you’re anything like me, you like your food hot and spicy. No, HOT and SPICY!!! Direct from the plancha to plate, your meal is guaranteed to be served HOT, FRESH, and FLAVORFUL.
5| Taco’Bout Tasty.
Speaking of flavor, Executive Chef, Sergio Ortega, imported the bold, complex flavors from his hometown of Morelia, Michoacán, in Central Mexico. At his creative direction, Chef Sergio designed a progressive menu that will change your perception of Mexican cuisine. The taco entrees are a must and include Al Pastor, Mahi Mahi, Pollo, Steak, and Chile Relleno. “My goal wasn’t to reinvent the wheel; my goal was to make it better,” Sergio said regarding his highly acclaimed Chile Relleno taco. Other delectable menu items include Elote Asada, Mexican Poke, Fideo, Mexican Fried Rice, Chilaquiles, Huevos Rancheros, Alambres, and Concha De Helado — just try everything. Bar manager Jimmy V. summed it up well: “If you’re afraid of flavor, we’re not the restaurant for you.” – Drop the mic.
1555 Adams Ave, Unit 103
Costa Mesa, Ca 92626