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Thursday, September 06, 2012

Cantina Lounge - Review #1

Cantina Lounge
2736 East Nutwood
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 879-8094

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(SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Cantina Lounge is doing ½ OFF everything Mondays open to close.)

Part Javier's, part Yardhouse, and part Sutra Lounge and in the spot of the former Off-Campus Pub the recently opened Cantina Lounge in Fullerton, right near CSUF, is serving up some good Mexican food, drinks, and nightlife. Here are some pictures I took on a recent visit to Cantina Lounge where I met up with frequent guest reviewer "Johnny Automatic" for lunch and some of his thoughts:

I had a house margarita on the rocks and was pleased with the flavor and strength of the drink. Given that this place is a lounge, bar, and nightclub, as well as a restaurant, it is good to know the drinks are good. I had the surf n turf quesadilla filled with shrimp and carne asada. It was a very filling and flavorful lunch. They offer black or pinto beans on the side. I went with the black beans and was pleasantly surprised to find them made with bacon and onion. On top of the hummus appetizers I was stuffed and couldn't even finish the quesadilla.


Cantina Lounge Exterior
Exterior


Cantina Lounge Chips and Salsa
Chips and Salsa


Cantina Lounge Drinks
Drinks

When I go to a restaurant and peruse its menu one of the first things I look for is any unique item. I have to admit I wasn't expecting Cantina Lounge to have any item I hadn't heard of before but their appetizer menu had a hummus trio. Doesn't sound very Mexican so I almost didn't order it except that it included a jalapeño-flavored hummus and a salsa-flavored hummus. Once this came we largely ignored the chips and salsa we had been working on. And while we were eating it the manager came over and said that the hummus was made using his wife's recipe.

Cantina Lounge Hummus Trio
Hummus Trio


Cantina Lounge Surf and Turf Quesadilla
Surf and Turf Quesadilla

My Carne Asada Torta was one of the best I've had in a while where every bite was a perfect blend of perfectly cooked steak, perfectly toasted bread, and fresh lettuce, tomato, and avocado:

Cantina Lounge Carne Asada Torta
Carne Asada Torta


Cantina Lounge Chocolate Malt Cake
Chocolate Malt Cake



And here is their official press release:

Cantina Lounge is now open for Business, Introducing a Unique Hot Spot for Modern Mexican Cuisine, Sports and Nightlife in Fullerton, California

Great Food and Entertainment under One Roof in a State-of-the-Art Venue for Lunch, Dinner, Sport, and Nightlife
FULLERTON, CA – July 2, 2008 – Cantina Lounge is pleased to announce that it is now open for business, introducing a new experience in modern Mexican cuisine for lunch or dinner that blends fine dining, sports and entertainment for Fullerton and the surrounding areas.

cantinalounge01

Cantina Lounge rivals the finest restaurants in the area with an experience in dining unlike any other. The relaxing décor at Cantina Lounge features rusted steel, dark woods, rich leathers, candles and a 20-person communal table for an exotic and casual ambiance-that is perfect for spending time with friends and family. The restaurant also features two patios with communal fire pits for mingling late into the night.

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"Our goal was to create a lush environment with outstanding food and entertainment all in one place, where people can come and have a great time with family and friends," said Bassel Salloum, co-owner of the restaurant with business partner Jeff Walker. "We have an excellent chef who has created an outstanding menu for lunch and dinner."

cantinalounge03

The menu features contemporary Mexican fusion mixed with the flavors of traditional Mexican cuisine. Head Chef Felipe Serna brings his culinary expertise to creating an extensive menu including an Ahi tuna appetizer, jalapeno hummus and every imaginable taco from carne asada to shrimp and lobster in an affordable price range from $8-16. Specialty dishes such as baby-back ribs, grilled salmon and other exquisite seafood items are also available. An extensive list of margaritas and specialty cocktails complement this fabulous menu.

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"In the evening, most people go out for a great dinner at one place but have to leave and go to another location for entertainment and dancing," said Bassel. “Cantina Lounge offers both in one beautiful venue." For entertainment, Cantina Lounge features 48 50-inch plasma screens, along with intimate booth seating equipped with personal TVs that can be adjusted to whatever each guest prefers to watch. In addition, an 8-foot drop-down HD screen creates the ultimate sports restaurant atmosphere to watch the big game. With the MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL tickets, Cantina Lounge's sport bar will feature all professional and college sporting events. Any PPV event such as UFC events will also be displayed at Cantina Lounge, making this the ultimate location for sports watching.

cantinalounge05

After 10 p.m., Cantina Lounge's Resident DJ Ruffnek rocks the crowd with his eclectic music selection and LIVE mixes and mash-ups that include top 40 hits, hip hop, dance, electro, Reggae, and a large selection of classics from the 80's, 90's and rock party anthems. DJ Ruffnek is a triple threat (Remixer, Producer and Performing Artist) that has toured and played alongside artists such as Parliament, The Gap Band, The Time, Digital Underground, Xzibit and Snoop Dogg. Club Nights at Cantina Lounge will be held every Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday night.

Cantina Lounge's food and entertainment features make this restaurant a grand social scene. Happy hour is from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays and Taco Tuesdays feature $2 tacos and drink specials all night.

Cantina Lounge has several great private rooms for special events including birthday parties, corporate events and all other celebrations. Large booths can also be reserved for that special night out with a more intimate group of friends.

cantinalounge06

The restaurant is located at 2736 East Nutwood, Fullerton, CA 92831, site of the former Off-Campus Pub. "We know how attached the community and especially Cal State Fullerton was to Off-Campus Pub, and we focused on improving the customer experience when designing Cantina Lounge," said Salloum. "It's designed to offer an all-inclusive restaurant with excellent food and entertainment for a great lunch or evening out."

Cantina Lounge will be open for lunch and dinner Monday through Sunday from 11:00 am to 2:00 am. For more information, please call 714-879-8094 or visit www.cantinalounge.com


UPDATE (September 5, 2012): Wow, it's been four years since I've been to Cantina Lounge. Just went back today and they have revamped their whole menu and use more fresh (as opposed to canned) ingredients now and even grow some of their own produce on the lot. What I had for dinner today was chips and salsa, quesadilla fritas (made in a more authentic style using masa rather than flour tortillas), the Enchiladas Montadas with carnitas and sunny-side up egg, and the pineapple sorbet with a strawberry flauta on the side. And I was able to find a seat with better lighting so the pictures turned out better this time:
IMAG0268
IMAG0269
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Click here to see the entire album (23 photos so far) at flickr.

And here's some info they sent me about different deals they have each day of the week:

MONDAY:





HAPPY HOUR 3PM-7PM



FOOTBALL MUGS:  DURING FOOTBALL GAMES ONLY
TUESDAY:





HAPPY HOUR 3PM-7PM



$1 TACOS 3PM-11PM




$2.50 HOUSE MARGARITAS 3PM-11PM


$5 FLAVORED MARGARITAS 3PM-11PM


$2.50 TEQUILA SHOTS 3PM-11PM



$5 LOADED CORONAS  3PM-11PM


$6 TITAN BOMBS 3PM-11PM


WEDNESDAY:




HAPPY HOUR 3PM-7PM



WEENIE WEDNESDAY  3PM-9PM




$6 PBR TALL BOY / STREET DOG COMBO



$4 STREET DOGS





$4 PBR TALL BOYS



THURSDAY:




HAPPY HOUR 3PM-7PM



FOOTBALL MUGS:  DURING FOOTBALL GAMES ONLY
FRIDAY:





HAPPY HOUR 3PM-7PM



$10 OPEN BAR 10PM-11PM


SATURDAY:




FOOTBALL MUGS:  DURING FOOTBALL GAMES ONLY

$10 OPEN BAR 10PM-11PM


SUNDAY:





BRUNCH 9AM-2PM




BYO BREAKFAST 9A-2P




BOTTOMLESS MIMOSA / CHAMPAGNE (W BUFFET) 9A-2PM

FOOTBALL MUGS:  DURING FOOTBALL GAMES ONLY

$5 BLOODY MARYS




BYO BLOODY MARY BAR $6 CALL  $8 PREM  9AM-2PM

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