OC Review: Sue Ann’s American Kitchen, Placentia

Sue Ann’s Kitchen (Photos by Brad A. Johnson and Mark Rightmire, OC Register)

If I’ve ever raved about a crab cake at another restaurant, I take it back.

Go to Sue Ann’s. Order the crab cakes. This is how they are done, pure and simple. No fillers. Just crab. Lots of it. Amazingly sweet, mildly briny, fresh crab chunks held together with sheer will.

The white corn relish served alongside is delicious, if slightly vinegary, but never mind that. It’s hard to make my fork bend toward the corn when the crab is this good. I honestly don’t think I’ll be able to eat a crab cake anywhere else for a while, at least until the memory of these fade.

IMG_3370 copyThe remains of a casserole at Sue Ann’s (Photo by Brad A. Johnson)

Chef Gillian Clark isn’t well known in Orange County, but I suspect it won’t take her long to become as big of a deal here as she has been in Washington, D.C., where she owned several restaurants over the past decade. She recently relocated here, and in May she quietly opened Sue Ann’s American Kitchen…

Sue Ann’s is a quirky little cafe. From the stereo speakers, I hear Richard Harris singing “MacArthur Park,” followed by the Carpenters, Jefferson Starship and B.J. Thomas. There’s a fern in the front window suspended in macramé. And if you need to borrow the phone, you’ll have to remember how to use a rotary dial.

But while the ambience is pure kitsch, the kitchen doesn’t fool around. Everything is made from scratch. Check out the restaurant’s Facebook page, and you’ll see freshly baked brioche being pulled from the oven at 5 a.m…

This is obviously merely a synopsis. To read my full review and see the star rating, and to view an extensive slide show by photographer Mark Rightmire, check out this week’s OC Register. Note: Subscriptions are required for unlimited access the OC Register online. We don’t give it away for free at the newsstand, and we don’t give away for free online, either. Anyone can receive one week of complimentary access, but after that you’ll need to be a subscriber. Alternatively, you can always buy a single day pass — cheaper than a cup of coffee — for 24-hour access. 

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