Vegans living in Orange County aren’t met with a variety of choices when looking to dine out. Even though I can never become vegetarian or vegan, and as long as I’m not forced to eat a plant based diet, I actually enjoy eating it from from time to time because it can taste pretty good depending on where you go.
The newly opened Seabirds Kitchen came out of the Seabirds gourmet food truck which Stephanie Morgan started. While I wasn’t fond of the truck — it was always on the bland side for my palate — I was hoping that this wouldn’t be the case with the brick and mortar, and I’m happy to say, it wasn’t at all!
The minimalist decor and use of natural, earthy colors create a space ideal to enjoy this genre of cuisine at. Besides a row of two and four seaters, there is also a communal table with high stools for larger parties wishing to dine here together.
We began with Burnt Brussels Sprouts ($5.95) which possessed lovely tart flavors from the lime and dijon mustard. I would have liked them a little crispier but they were very tasty.
Organic Beet & Cara Cara Orange ($5.95/half $10.95/full) was so good my son kept asking me if I could make this at home for him. I love cara cara oranges and the sweet segments added a wonderful citrusy freshness to the greens. Roasted local beets and kale, both from Tanaka Farm in Irvine are sweet and crunchy and a wonderful way to get your antioxidants into your diet in one dish. I loved the crunch from the candied walnuts and the smoky coconut bacon added depth to the salad.
For a nice starter to share, choose the Tahitian Squash Flatbread ($11.45) a Tahitian squash puree is spread over flatbread and topped with caramelized onions, smoked paprika, chopped Tuscan kale and aged balsamic. The richness of the vinegar really brings the whole thing together.
I wasn’t sure if I’d like BBQ Jack Sliders ($7.50/2pc) seeing I’m not a huge fan of barbecue sauce, nor pulled pork, which is what this vegan version is mirroring. Shredded young jackfruit is grilled and then seasoned with Kentucky BBQ sauce before it is assembled on whole wheat slider buns and topped with Seabirds slaw and caramelized red onion and pickles. They were absolutely delicious, so packed with flavor with the salty, sweet, tart flavor profiles.
Our last savory dish, Zippy Tofu Plate ($11.95) is a version of something Morgan’s mom used to make while she was growing up. Brown rice is topped with grilled Hodo soy tofu, creamy green chile cheese sauce, broccoli and topped with tortilla strips for crunch. An ancho salsa is served alongside and gives it an elevated flavor if you like a bit of spice. It is even good the following day warmed up in the microwave!
Chaffle ($8.95 feeds 2-4) is a churro waffle topped with coconut sorbet, chocolate sauce and chopped pecans. The coconut sorbet is from Vitaly, across the street at The Camp and makes this generous portion a meal in itself.
You can be a carnivore and still enjoy vegan cuisine once in a while. I definitely need a break from time to time, and Seabirds Kitchen has a great selection for you to cut your teeth on.
2930 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626