When I was asked if I could cover an event at Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill, I didn’t even have to think twice about accepting it. I LOVE Z’Tejas! It has great decor, a fabulous bar and offers the option of sitting on their outdoor patio for dining, as well as inside seating! This Z’Tejas is located in Costa Mesa and is part of South Coast Plaza. What could be better than following up a great meal with some shopping?
We’ve been to Z’Tejas several times before for their brunch. If you have never experienced their brunch, you MUST get there soon to try it! (They offer brunch on Saturday and Sunday until 3 p.m.) For this particular event, I was excited to be previewing and tasting the items featured on their newest seasonal, Spring Sensations dinner menu. Between the lunch and dinner versions of this seasonal menu, there are 2 special drinks, 5 entrees, and a dessert. We were fortunate enough to have a very knowledgeable server, Wesley, who took great care of us that evening. She was so animated and friendly. You could just tell how much she loved working there.
The 1st of the two featured drinks on the Spring Sensations menu is called the Berried Treasure. It is a mixture of Herradura Silver, Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur, blackberries, fresh lime juice and Herradura Agave Nectar. The 2nd featured drink is the Chambord Rocks Margarita, which is what they call one of their famous 6th Street Margaritas with a Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur twist. Although we didn’t order either of those new featured bar drinks that night, we did get to see both of them be prepared up at the bar that night.
We both decided to start off with one of their Agua Frescas, from the non-alcoholic drink menu. Since there are 2 different flavors on the menu, we ordered one of each. The Mango Mint Agua Fresca is made with Monin Mango Pureé, club soda, fresh limes, and mint. I loved the very light, subtle mint taste it had. The other drink was the Strawberry Agua Fresca, made with Monin Strawberry Pureé, club soda, and Sprite. It had just enough sweet to it and was refreshing to sip on.
Our server, Wesley, brought out a skillet of their complimentary cornbread for us, along with our Aguas Frescas. A fun fact I read on their menu was that Z’Tejas bakes their cornbread fresh every 30 minutes. If I didn’t have to save room for other food, I could’ve easily sat there and eaten a new skillet of their cornbread, each half hour!
We also felt like it was necessary to start with one of their Bottomless Baskets of Chips, which are accompanied by 3 different signature salsas: salsa picante, avocado salsa verde and the chef’s salsa of the day.
As we sipped on our drinks and munched on the appetizers, we looked over the details of the Spring Sensations dinner menu, which is a seasonal one. I was excited about the 4 dinner entrees we’d be getting to sample that night!
I first started with the Southern Chicken Thighs, which is crispy chicken served with Southern-style succotash, roasted garlic mashed potatoes and finished with a mango chutney. The chicken was cooked just right and was so juicy. The garlic mashed potatoes were to die for!
Next, I tried the Sweet Chile Pork Tenderloin. The pork tenderloin is pan-seared and served over sautéed spinach and arugula, then finished with sweet chile butter sauce and garnished with an orange and jalapeño salad. The tenderloin had a bit of a kick to it, from the garnish, which is what I loved most about it.
Third, I tried the Fish Tacos, which are made with crispy tilapia, served in warm corn tortillas and topped with Southwestern Slaw and mango salsa. The plate is also served with a side of black beans, topped with cotija cheese, and saffron rice. These tacos are the perfect size and tilapia is one of my favorite kinds of fish because it’s so mild.
Last, but not least, I dove into the Seafood Paella, which arrived at our table in a skillet. This dish was an array of scallops, shrimp, mussels and Andouille sausage, tossed with toasted saffron and served on a bed of green pea rice. I couldn’t get enough of it, especially the shrimp!
I made a conscious effort to pace myself with the appetizers and the entrees because I knew there was going to be dessert too! When I read that the specialty dessert on the Spring Sensations menu was Mango Upside Down Cake, I got as giddy as a schoolgirl! The mango cake was served warm and finished with Myers Dark Rum butter. It was topped with mango sorbet. We finished the entire dessert with minimal effort! It was delicious!
After extensively looking over the full Z’Tejas regular menu, I was pleased to see that their establishment offers vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options for guests with special dietary needs. For some people, these offerings can actually be a game-changer for them, allowing them access to dining out.
I also glanced over their children’s menu, which they’ve cleverly named the “KidZ’Menu” and was pleased to see offerings such as a “Kid’s Chopped Salad”, “Mac & Cheese with Grilled Chicken”, and many other choices for children to order, that mimic the adult menu. They even have a “KidZ’ Brunch” section. As a mother, it makes me happy to see real food items offered on a children’s menu and not things like a hot dog.
Z’Tejas has the words, “Fresh. Flavorful. Innovative” below it’s name on the menu. I can’t think of a more perfect description of their food. I cannot wait to return again to try the Spring Sensations lunch menu next!
Wendy is a mom to a beautiful daughter and a first grade teacher. She blogs at http://www.overthetopmommy.blogspot.com
* Wendy attended a preview of the Z’Tejas spring item. Food and beverages were provided courtesy of Z’Tejas.