The first sounds you hear when you walk into Descanso in Costa Mesa are the chatter of excited voices and the sizzling of a piping-hot grill. Here, Descanso translates Central Mexico’s traditional street cuisine into an elevated meal that you’ll want to enjoy again and again.
Descanso visitors have the choice of eating in the dining room or taking a seat next to a plancha, which is a flat-top griddle used in Spanish cooking, for an entertaining and delicious dining experience.
When we know we’re going to a Mexican restaurant, we spend most of the day thinking about the delicious margaritas that are waiting for us. At Descanso, we started with the highly suggested Bad Hombre, a margarita that’s just spicy enough to tease you without breaking a sweat, and Mi Corazón, which sweet, light and delicious.
To complement our first round of margaritas, we ordered the classic guacamole, which was fresh and full of flavor. When seated at the plancha, you receive a choice of fideo soup or Caesar salad for your first course. The salad was covered in a tingling, spicy Caesar dressing, and the fideo soup was great to the last drop.
Soon afterward, Chef Jackson arrived and fired up the plancha. He started off by making Mexican fried rice, treating us to a show of fire and flying spatulas. After the rice was done, it was served in separate bowls and covered in a spicy mayo sauce that we were tempted to steal on our way out.
Next, he got to work on our main courses: carne asada (pro tip: add the queso frito) and the pork loin alambre. We watched the chef expertly prepare our food right in front of our eyes and serve it up immediately to the plates in front of us! Every bite was as flavorful and delicious as the experience was entertaining.
Our second round of drinks consisted of the classic El Descanso margarita and Ol Fumador, which utilizes mezcal to mimic the rich flavor of an Old Fashioned. While we decided to enjoy our cocktails in lieu of dessert, Descanso offers a tempting lineup of traditional flan, a deconstructed lemon tart and s’mores bread pudding. A perfect special occasion restaurant, Descanso makes your birthday or anniversary special by delivering your dessert with a dazzling sparkler.
For more information on Descanso, visit www.descansorestaurant.com.