Could This Be The Best Club Sandwich In The World?

Window shopping our way around South Coast Plaza may be a pleasant way to spend a morning, but when it's time to fill our grumbling bellies, we're stumped. There are a few upmarket options, sure (Hamamori, Marché Moderne and Charlie Palmer), along with some fast-food joints at the other end of the scale, but there's not much to write home about in the middle.

So I thought I'd try the Wolfgang Puck Bistro at Macy's. It's more café than restaurant, with an open-plan, industrial-style kitchen, although it is open for dinner as well as lunch. Both menus are so lengthy you could starve to death before you manage to decide what you want, but it's a risk worth taking.

The bistro was barely one-third full at lunchtime on a Thursday. Not a good sign, but it didn't seem to bother the wait staff, who were charming and chatty, even offering me a 'to-go' cup for the rest of my soda when I left. Perhaps it's busier on Wednesdays, when all wine is half price all day.

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Now, that club sandwich. This is no ordinary club sandwich, this is a Rotisserie Turkey Club sandwich. In other words, it's made with fresh roasted turkey--real meat, not the plasticky stuff you get elsewhere that's clearly never been within 50 miles of a farm, sludge that bares so little resemblance to meat that it's probably suitable for vegetarians. The focaccia was just the right combination of soft and crispy, the tomato and avocado so lively they must've been harvested that same morning. Crispy pieces of bacon. Fresh lettuce. Red onion. Rémoulade--that's posh mayonnaise to you or I. The ingredients oozed out. I'm salivating now just thinking about it. And, because that wasn't calorific enough, accompanying it was a generous pile of own-made chips covered with a herby crumb topping.
At $9.95, it's not exactly cheap. But look on the bright side: at least it's not as expensive as the $200 sandwich that graced the menu at Cliveden in England a couple of years ago, a concoction so costly it landed a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
But if you really can't bring yourself to shell out that much for a solitary dish, time your visit to coincide with the upcoming Orange County Restaurant Week (22-28 February), when you can get this very sarnie as part of a $10 three-course lunch offer (a three-course dinner, with the likes of steak au poivre, will set you back $20). Now that is good value. Click here for the menu.

Wolfgang Puck Bistro at Macy's, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (714) 556-0611, Ext. 3005

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