There’s a long list of brew pubs to choose from in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Many have great beer and so-so food, others have really good food but so-so beer.
But what if you could find a place with kick ass beer – like 60 different options on tap – and gourmet-level food? Oh, and did I mention it has a killer view of the ocean? If this sounds like your kind of place, you should check out The American Dream, newly opened in Pacific City in Huntington Beach.
Four entrepreneurs, Jeremy Saenz, Jonathan Potalivo, Dakotah Challacombe and Hugh Amato, recently opened this foodie/beer-lover destination. They wanted to open the kind of place they looked for themselves whenever they wanted to grab some good food and good beer. The space, seating 101, has an abundance of tables overlooking the PCH and the ocean, with both inside seating and an open-air covered patio available. They also wanted to make sure the food they were serving wasn’t just an afterthought and they’ve succeeded in doing that.
Four varieties of fries are available to start with, all cut in house. The truffle fries are served with black truffle salt, garlic, Parmesan and parsley. The chorizo chili fries are hand cuts smothered in chorizo chili with cheddar cheese. If fries aren’t what you want to start with, then I highly recommend the Buffalo Cauliflower. I know, I know, I had the same reaction when Jeremy recommended it. How good could a cauliflower dish in a brewpub be? Take my word for it: it can be pretty damn good! The cauliflower is breaded and deep fried, then tossed in buffalo sauce and served with celery and ranch or bleu cheese. This dish will give the beloved buffalo chicken wing a run for its money – and may just save a few chickens in the process.
If you only have room to order one appetizer/starter, you must get the Lucky Habanero Chips and Salsa. Undoubtedly the best salsa I’ve had to date.
And, believe it or not, it is produced by Jeremy Saenz’s mother. Available at The American Dream and starting to gain wide distribution, I bought my latest stash at Sprouts; it comes in a mild version all the way to an extremely hot version. If he’s in, get Jeremy to tell you the story of the “bet the farm” moment his mom had when she’d been manufacturing for about four years. You can see why she’s achieving the American dream and why he and his partners are pursuing theirs in this appropriately named restaurant.
After you’ve tried an appetizer, or three, you’ve got to try one of their signature burgers. Made with a proprietary blend of meat, I was blown away with how good these burgers are. The most popular, at least so far, has been the Prosciutto Burrata Burger, made with a chuck brisket patty, burrata, prosciutto, oven-roasted tomato, arugula and pesto, and topped with a garlic aioli. There are lots of competing flavors, but they complement each other surprisingly well. My favorite is the Truffle Burger. This is the one that’s had me going back for seconds or thirds, I’ve lost count. Made with wagyu beef, sautéed mushrooms, gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, truffle oil, black truffle salt, and a red wine reduction, you’ll want to share this with someone you love as it’s a full-grown burger that begs to be shared.
They also serve Buffalo Fried Chicken, Short Rib Grilled Cheese, yum, and salads that include Caesar, Baja Cali Cobb and Spinach Lentil. If you have any room left for dessert, try the Chocolate Chip Skillet, a chocolate chip cookie baked to order, topped with vanilla ice cream. It’s delivered right out of the oven.
With 60 beers on tap there’s something for every taste. There’s Light and Crisp, Sour and Wild Ales, and on my last visit I had a Cascade Sang Royal 2015 sour that measured in at 10.1% alcohol volume and was mighty tasty. You can also choose from Pale Ales, IPAs, Ambers and Brown Ales, and Stouts. Jonathan has curated a surprisingly good wine list as well, aiming to keep six top-shelf whites and six top-shelf reds, from some really good vineyards, available at all times.
Next time you’re cruising the PCH with the nose pointed southbound, stop in at The American Dream and check out what they’re doing. Parking is available at Pacific City and they’ll validate your ticket for up to two hours.
Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Monday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday
(714) 374-1330 or www.theamericandreamhb.com