the tartan room / orange, ca
Stacey came to visit me a couple of weeks ago. After spending a day shopping for Sleazy Lounge Party clothes and watching many episodes of Dexter, we worked up a significant appetite. Not only that, but I wanted my dining experience to be amusing without being too involved. This desire doesn’t lend itself very easily to typical restaurant search sites, so I started Googling everything I could think of to find sites featuring restaurants in Orange, in the hopes of finding something I hadn’t seen before. I came across one site with many clearly outdated listings, that had an entry at the end for The Tartan Room. Stacey and I thought it was an interesting name, but we weren’t really sold yet.
I did a ton of searching for information on the The Tartan Room and could only find two reviews. One was unremarkable. The other said (going from possibly inaccurate memory, here) that the food was good and the portions were large, that the decor was very dark and extremely outdated, and that halogen lights had been added fairly recently over the booths, giving the feeling of being in a surreal puppet show. Sold.
Dark faux-wood paneling, some minimal kitschy decor that you can barely see in the dark corners, a live singer (with songs ranging from Brown Eyed Girl to White Wedding), fairly private booths, and acoustic tile ceilings covered in stains and glitter gave this place just the awesome ambiance I was hoping for. We were immediately served tasty cheesy bread and our beverages were never less than a quarter full. Dinner entrees were generally in the $10-$20 range (the cheapest non-appetizer item is a $10 burger), while the steak dinners were in the $20-$30 range.
Prime rib sounded good, but I didn’t feel like forking over $25 for it in a new restaurant that could potentially suck. Instead I ordered the $15 open-faced prime rib sandwich (above), which ultimately turned out to be a huge slab of prime rib over a piece of cheesy bread you can’t even see, a cup of jus, a cup of horseradish, and onion rings (I had a choice of those or fries). Was this the most fabulous cut of meat I’ve ever had? Maybe not. But was the entire meal incredibly tasty and worth my time and money? Absolutely. I’m in love with this place.
I had mixed feelings about Stacey ordering a cobb salad, because this seemed like a heavy-eatin’ kind of place. Not to fear though, because this is a heavy-eatin’ kind of cobb salad. Every bite was coated in the perfect amount of dressing, it was well-mixed, the ingredients were delicious, and the salad was quite sizeable. I was pleased, and it wasn’t even mine.
To sum things up: if, after reading this, you don’t want to go to The Tartan Room, don’t ever come visit me in Orange. I must insist that everyone I know visits this place when they’re here. Seriously. I’ll rage on any dissenters.