Once upon a time there was a city. This city came from humble beginnings but through time, slowly became a strange outcast within the boundaries of its surrounding neighbors. You see, the neighboring cities began to proliferate and expand with ample amounts of money and resources flowing into them while the poor city we speak of became a dumping ground for the unwanted and misunderstood; however, as time continued to pass the city embraced its difference, its uniqueness, and saw it as inspiration. It never saw itself as being less than the other cities and the people got together and decided to shine. Now in present time, a community has grown from the grassroots, nurturing an expanding pool of talent and creativity who want to showcase their skills and the city that holds them. The city we speak of is Santa Ana and one restaurant that tells a fine story is Chapter One: the modern local.
Set up like a library, Chapter One uses the motif as the setting for your dining adventure. The place is large and open, with carved in book shelves, stacks of books, and square wooden tables placed neatly throughout the dining room floor. Large glass windows make up a huge facade of the restaurant, allowing more than enough light into the restaurant as well as allowing the dreamers inside to people watch while feasting.
Having the word "modern" within the name of the restaurant, the hope is the service will also follow suit with excellent and knowledgeable staff and it does! The servers know what's cooking inside the kitchen and are more than happy to answer questions about the menu and even those that aren't. Just like the books spread out through the restaurant, inquiry and curiosity is welcomed in this warm dining spot.
Chapter One isn't simply a restaurant using organic ingredients and chic presentation. Instead, the food is a mixture of beauty and timing. Using seasonal ingredients in the menu, Chapter One creates cuisine that cannot be explained by using the blanket word "fusion". Yes, there is a blending of different cultures in their dishes like the Po' (Asian) Boy, a po' boy sandwich blending standard American fare with an Asian kick to the pants by pairing beer-battered shrimp with Sriracha creme and scallions. Or even the Sisig sandwich which takes the slow cooking of lesser preferred pig parts and braises them to the point of decadence with a texture that blends well with the fried egg and plump ciabatta (which is baked in house). No, using the term "fusion" to describe the cuisine would be like saying the blue whale is a "big fish"; it gives you a taste of an idea with no substance. Instead, Chapter One is playfulness manifested through flavors. It looks at ingredients and tries to craft a story behind it. Sometimes it succeeds and sometimes it falls short, but the joy of cooking can be felt with each item and when that's done right dining really becomes more than nourishing a hungry stomach; it nourishes a hungry soul.
Chapter One: the modern local is more than another great restaurant. It is a watering hole for both outsiders and regulars. It craves your attention so it can show you all the great things it has to make you happy. It is clean, it is fun, and it is open late (great for the night owls). Chapter One: the modern local is a great example of ingenuity and what Santa Ana has to offer. It is a great way to end your day happily ever after.
Chapter One: the modern local
227 N Broadway
Santa Ana, CA 92701