1623 West Katella Ave.
Orange, CA 92867
16310 Beach Blvd
3525 Carson Street
Torrance, CA 90503
I went to the Lazy Dog once when they opened their first location back in 2003. For some reason, I never returned after that. I don't remember the restaurant being bad, it just didn't leave much of an impression on me. Recently, I've read a couple of articles by Dan over at EatInOC. He raves about how much he loves the Lazy Dog and how it is one of his favorite restaurants. Since Dan seems to be a man that knows good food, I decided to give Lazy Dog another try.
I arrived at The Lazy Dog as a party of four on a Thursday evening. The wait was less than 5 minutes. As I was waiting for the table, I read their special board and saw that they had Barracuda for $19.99. I think this may have been the first time that I have seen barracuda on a menu. We were seated at a large table in a big, open dining room. The lighting was just dim enough to add a little bit of atmosphere.
I looked over the menu and tried to decide what to order. There were so many good looking things here. I thought about ordering the barracuda special, but finally decided against it. In the end I decided to order a bowl of Chicken Tortilla Soup ($4.95) with avocado ($1.00 extra) and the Meatloaf Stack Sandwich ($7.95). V was having a little trouble finding something she wanted, but finally decided on Keri's Roasted Vegetable pizza ($10.95). R chose "Mom's Pot Pie" ($11.95) and J decided to have an appetizer meal and ordered the Parmesan Zucchini Fries ($7.45) and some Rocky Mountain Wings with Island Tiki sauce ($9.25). J and I ordered Iced Tea as well ($2.55).
It wasn't long before our waiter brought me my large steaming bowl of Tortilla Soup. The bowl was bigger than I expected. Dan talked about this soup on his blog and said how good it was, so I had to try it for myself. The soup was indeed very good. My wife even tried some of it and liked it so much, she had a few more spoonfuls. The only thing that could have made this soup better, would be if it were a little spicier. I tend to like things spicier than most though, so I understand why it's not. Also, since they charged me extra for the avocado, I thought they could have put a little more on the soup. V really liked the parmesan flatbread that they brought with my soup. She ate it all.
A short while later, our food arrived. It was all nicely presented and looked fantastic. My meatloaf stack sandwich consisted of a thick slice of egg bread topped with mashed potatoes and a fat slice of meatloaf, smothered in brown gravy. The meatloaf was filled with carrots, onions and other vegetables. It was quite tasty and the gravy had the sweetness of caramelized onions. I felt that this dish was a fantastic deal for only $7.95.
V looked at her pizza and was at first disappointed at how thin the crust was. She usually prefers a pizza with a more substantial crust, and this pizza was pretty thin. She picked up a slice though and quickly changed her mind. Her pizza was topped with roasted veggies, portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions, goat cheese and a balsamic vinegar drizzle. She loved it so much that she said she was going to try and recreate it at home.
R enjoyed his chicken pot pie and said that it was full of flavor....maybe a little too much flavor. He said that the filling for the pie was less creamy than he was expecting, but bursting with a salty flavor. He said that he could see how other people would really like this, but it was a little too salty for him. He ate almost the whole pie though, and enjoyed it, but said that he would probably order something else next time.
When J ordered her chicken wings, she asked the waiter which of the Island Tiki or Chipotle BBQ sauce was less sweet. The waiter told her that the Chipotle BBQ was really sweet, so if she wanted less sweet, she should go for the Island Tiki. When her wings arrived, they were covered with a gooey sauce that tasted like a teriyaki sauce. She said it was still really, really sweet though. She finally decided she would try and take the wings home, wash off the sauce and try to re-season them. She enjoyed her fried zucchini. V even stole a few for herself and really liked them too.
The thing that I was impressed with the most here was the presentation of the food and the impeccable service. The waiter was always attentive and made sure that our drinks never ran low. He was very knowledgeable about the menu and happily answered any questions we had. The manager also stopped by our table during our meal to make sure that everything was good. When I asked the waiter for extra lemons for my iced tea, he returned with a clean white plate that had three perfectly placed lemon slices on them.
This is the kind of service I would expect at an expensive restaurant, not a restaurant as affordable as Lazy Dog. Overall, I was very pleased with my experience at Lazy Dog. I'm not sure why it took me 5 years to return after my initial visit. I am happy that Dan's reviews motivated me to return. I look forward to making Lazy Dog one of my regular dinner spots. Thanks again Dan!