Sunday, November 8, 2015

LITTLE SPARROW (SANTA ANA, CA)

Little Sparrow
300 N. Main St
Santa Ana, CA 92701
www.littlesparrowcafe.com
Tel: 714.265.7640
$$ ($15-$30)
Cuisine: American
Sat, 10/31/2015, 6:15pm reservation
    (3.5 Piglets)




Little Sparrow is a cute little café housed in Downtown Santa Ana. It was voted as "Restaurant of the Year" by Orange Coast Magazine and was featured on Bravo's "Best New Restaurant." So, I was a tad excited to check out the fairly new spot after reviewing their delicious menu online.

It was Halloween when my friend and I decided to dine at the eatery. The lights were already dimmed out and the bartenders were checking their stash. The bar and the dining room are separate from one another, so you do have the option of doing something more casual at the bar. The menu we saw was slightly different than the menu I viewed online (which I was marginally disappointed because I was looking forward to the chicken cracklings). Nonetheless, we still ordered and still ate our way through the menu.


The bar
Bar seating
The dining room
POPCORN POLENTA ($10.00): Farm egg, maple sherry creme, butternut squash. This was an interesting dish. The polenta was creamy and there were bits of popcorn in the dish that actually stood out in flavor. The egg made it savory and the butternut squash gave the dish texture. I liked it, but wasn't amazed by the dish. 


BONE MARROW ($18.00): Yakitori, scallion, thai basil cilantro salad, sesame, pickled radish, opal basil. Asian flavors were prominent in the dish. I actually got jipped by the amount of bone marrow. There was barely a tablespoon on the bone, if that. Regardless, the marrow was good and seasoned well. I could do without the cilantro salad. It didn't bring anything to the dish other than take up space on the plate. 


BISCUIT ($6.00): Honey butter, assorted jams. The biscuit was buttery and quite dense. I was disappointed that it only came with two, but I understood why after taking the first bite. It's definitely filling. It wasn't extremely flaky as I would have liked, but still tasty nonetheless. 


A pic of the assorted jams and honey butter. My favorite was the onion spread, next the honey butter, then the jam. 


MY FAVORITE DISH. 1/2 MARYS FRIED CHICKEN ($25.00): Spiced bourbon glaze. This was a love-hate relationship. I absolutely loved the flavors of the fried chicken. It was super crispy, super moist, and super juicy. The skin was to die for and I actually didn't mind eating the breast. The only downfall (which is a huge one) is the meat was still bloody. I know the chefs sous-vide the chicken first, then fried it so apparently it's cooked to temperature; however, it was still unappetizing to eat a bloody chicken. The service was great and they replaced the chicken, but my leftovers were still red when I took it home. 

MY RED, BLOODY CHICKEN ;(

CHOCOLATE SEMIFREDO ($9.00): Almond brittle crumble, hibiscus glaze. I normally love the semifredo, but I thought this missed the mark. The texture was grainy and didn't taste as cool and smooth as I would have liked. Regardless, the flavors were there, but it just needed to improve on the texture. 

Overall, I appreciate the attempt Little Sparrow makes in bringing contemporary cuisine to the OC. The fried chicken was the best fried chicken I've had in awhile, but if they could just cook it well enough so it is no longer bloody, it's a winning dish in my book. Service was great that night, which is always a plus. I think if they just tweaked a few of the flavors and textures, this place could be one to compete in the OC. 

1 comment:

  1. I photographed a fundraising conference here recently. What a wonderful place for photos. I almost always hate being anywhere at 6am, but this breakfast event proved an exception. The manger and his staff from party venues were extremely professional.

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