When I look for interesting sandwich places in Santa Ana, I usually start downtown at the 4th street market. It’s a decent place to start, but I find myself falling into the trap of sticking only to that area of the city. Braizen Sexy Sandwiches is located near the border of Santa Ana and Irvine, in what looks like a newly constructed business area. There isn’t much there yet, but Braizen is worth a visit if you’re around (and parking isn’t bad, because there aren’t a lot of open businesses yet).
Salmon and Brie Melt
- Poached Salmon
- Melted Brie
- Sundried Tomato
- Lemon Aioli
- Pickled Red onion
- Grilled Ciabatta
Ciabatta has always been a strong contender for preferred sandwich bread. It’s thick and sturdy structure with hard crust makes it ideal for holding heavier proteins and thicker sauces. Braizen grills their ciabatta on the inside, making it crispy throughout. It works very well with the slightly firm poached salmon.
I always appreciate seafood sandwiches that aren’t the run-of-the-mill tuna or fried fish with tartar sauce combination because they tend to be more scarce at sandwich shops. I always felt that Salmon and Brie sandwiches were an interesting take on the classic lox and cream cheese bagel. Brie has that creamy texture with more earthy and buttery flavors that mix well with the mild salmon. The capers, sundried tomato, and pickled onion really add a briny/salty flavor that is nicely tempered by the meat and cheese. Finally, it was finished with some herbaceous and fragrant dill and a light lemon aioli. A lot of classic flavors here that any salmon lover would enjoy.
The lemon aioli isn’t something that you could outright identify when trying the sandwich. The Brie and capers show much more than the aioli does, but I think it prevents the sandwich from being to dry. If you want more citrus to go with your fish, I’d say just ask for lemon and squeeze it on yourself, you won’t get a lot of it from the sauce.
You won’t find any meal for less than $10 on Braizen’s menu and every sandwich comes with a side of kettle chips. The portions here are decent, but it does seem a little more expensive than other places. The salmon and brie is $12, very reasonable for a salmon sandwich. With a fountain drink ($2.75) your meal is going to be in the $15-$20 range, not a bad price for places comparable, but certainly not the cheapest lunch.
If you’re into eating the crispy cheese that melts over onto the grill (most people are), their BBQ burger has a righteous cheese skirt:
Braizen’s menu is a nice combination of safe sandwich options combined with more adventurous fare. There is plenty that I want to try on their menu, especially when I realized that I didn’t actually order any of their braised meat (it’s in their name, so it must be good). I think if you compare Braizen to some of it’s contemporaries it may seem a little more expensive, but it still lands on the side of reasonable when you consider the ingredients and menu options.
Braizen Sexy Sandwiches
31 E Macarthur Crest suite 102
Santa Ana, CA 92707
Mon – Fri: 11AM – 10PM
Sat:12PM – 10PM
[Click Thumbnails to enlarge sample menu]