Food Porn Friday | Ritter's Steam Kettle Cooking | Santa Ana

Friday, June 28, 2013


It doesn’t take long for anything to start trending in OC. 
Still a relatively confined foodie town where word-of-mouth is the fastest fashion for just about any cuisine to quickly take off. Boba> Yogurt> Tea Houses> Crawfish> Craft Breweries> and now most recently Pan Roast. Oyes hunnies, Las Vegas eats has FINALLY found its way to the motherland.
  I first discovered the Oyster Bar at Palace Station through local friends (thanks Sophia!) and make it a point to hightail my ass over to this old school casino even before hitting the slots or checking into my hotel on the opposite end of the strip. Yup, it’s highly craveable Southern cuisine that reminds me of summers spent on the bayou in Nawlins sippin’ on sweet tea and noshing on craw daddies ‘til my body burns from Cajun rubs seeping through my pores. Never mind that I barely learned to walk when all of this happened, sense memory is the closest thing I tie to my childhood which I’m proud to recall was ALL ABOUT THE FOOD. 

Mike Ritters himself is the executive chef of this recent establishment, having opened both Oyster Bar (Vegas) and the Broiler (Chino Hills) before partnering up with local investors to make his way down to the South Coast Metro area with Huntington Beach on the helm mid-summer. Some exciting times ahead since I hear he’s been trying to break through to the Bolsa scene for years now and the time has finally come for us to reap the rewards!

What is steam kettle cooking (SKC) you ask? A method of using high pressure steam to indirectly heat food and prevent it from overcooking, this kettle system allows flavors to penetrate deep into stews and cooks at a much faster rate than having slaved over the stove from morning to suppertime. Sounds muy delicioso and tastes even better lovers. Welcome to comfort town…


Ritter’s Famous House Pan Roast (above) with shrimp, crab, clams, and lobster. I was never able to eat the infamous combo pan roast at the palace station since I’m allergic to lobster. The Vegas outpost uses lobster stock as a stew base where Ritter’s starts with a tomato-cream base and layers their flavors from there. Total score for my food porn posts since I’ve been eager to discover what the hype is all about. If you’ve ever been to Boudin Bakery their creamy tomato soup tastes eerily similar to pan roast without all the chitlins. Rich body, hearty flavors, and seasoned to perfection with a 5+ spice meter, order pan roast with jasmine rice, pasta, or simply dipped with house bread and this is sure to become a supper staple in any SoCal home.

Raw clams and fresh raw oysters on the half shell served with zesty cocktail sauce, horseradish, and lemon. The clams were a bit too gamey for my taste but Vietnamese folk around these parts of town love it that way especially when paired with an ice cold beer. As this post was written (June 2013) Ritter’s SKC has NOT yet acquired a liquor license but I hear it’s in the works. These raw starters were DESPERATE for some accompanying carbonation so until that day comes, I’m clearly not a fan.

Molasses Bacon Wrapped Shrimp: Molasses marinated shrimp and mozzarella wrapped with hardwood smoked bourbon bacon served with molasses mustard sauce. A for effort, D for execution. Sounds so palatable on the menu but these little guys were so friggin’ dry even the sticky icky sauce couldn’t save them from complete dehydration. I expected sweet shrimp juices to ooze with every bite, instead I was met with crumbling bacon bits and mealy meat from the outside in. No fear peeps, I am never shy at professing my criticisms, mainly very constructive especially when I’m dealing with friends in the biz. I immediately alerted the MOD so hopefully your next experience won’t be as disappointing as mine.

New England Clam Chowder: I love a hint of celery root in my cream-based soups so I really savored their take on this traditional classic. Just a note, this bowl needs to be devoured immediately. Like, within minutes of arriving to the table since chowders tend to coagulate faster than your spoon can reach for another mouthful.

Cioppino fish stew prepared with shrimp, crab, white fish, calamari, mussels and clams. I like my cioppino thick and dense, theirs was light, fresh, and jam-packed with every delicacy you can imagine thriving in the sea. Perfect paired with pasta since rice can’t hold up to the soupy consistency of the broth. A total departure from Oyster Bar’s where their cioppino is much closer to a pan roast so I guess it’s just a matter of preference. Eh, tomato-tomahto.

Ritter’s Famous Gumbo: A southern standard dark roux made with a variety of seafood, okra, and Andouille sausage served with jasmine rice. PERFECTION! I could eat this gumbo for days and days. Love the aromatic herbs and spices, you could tell so much love went into this dish as the chefs must have been slaving away stirring for hours on end. The result? Deep, rich, layered flavors from meat and seafood, a flawless balance when tempered with the fragrant rice.

Ritter's SKC
Gateway Plaza- South Coast Metro
1421 W. Macarthur Blvd Unit G
Santa Ana, CA 92704
(714) 850-1380

*Insider’s tip: Having just opened a few weeks ago, expect long lines after 5pm from Thursday through the weekend. They currently don’t accept reservations so I’d try going earlier or mid-week to snag a coveted spot at the kettle bar station. The theatrics of watching the chefs steam-cook their way into discerning bellies is a show in itself so for first-timers this is DEF the way to watch what you eat!*

Bon appétit mes amis!

Follow HAUTE KHUUTURE

You Might Also Like

4 comments

  1. These dishes sound so interesting! I've never tried anything like this - but it definitely looks good!
    the-creationofbeauty.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mouthwatering..........
    I love eating seafood SO MUCH!
    And what a bummer that you are
    allergic to lobster.
    That fish stew pot looks delish
    c: Xx

    ReplyDelete
  3. Everything looks amazing! my mouth is watering...

    http://foodfashionandflow.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. The chowder and tomato soup look soo good! I must make more soup soon at home!

    ReplyDelete

Give it to me...gimme that funk, that sweet, that gushy stuff

Like us on Facebook

Yelp Golden ELITE Reviews