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Taps Fish House: Big Easy Arrives at Brea's Birch Street

October 29, 2000|TOM VASICH

It's Sunday, and there are so many crepes and omelets from which to choose. Here's a sampler of Sunday Brunch destinations in Orange County, culled from recent stories. Other reviews can be accessed at

As part of the Birch Street Promenade redevelopment in downtown Brea, Taps Fish House and Brewery brings an evolving North County dining scene its first New Orleans-style seafood restaurant.

For those who have eaten their way through the streets of the Big Easy, you know what this means: fresh shellfish, spicy dishes packed with all kinds of sea life, and lots and lots of beer.

This much Taps delivers. So it's a safe assumption that Taps' buffet brunch has to be a bit different from the others. And on its Creole surface, it is. A serving station piled high with gleaming oysters on the half shell, Day-Glo orange shrimp and firehouse-red crawfish greets you as you enter the large, barn-like brick restaurant.

The festive jazz of a five-piece Dixieland band plays almost nonstop. And yes, the servers all wear Mardi Gras beads.

This is about as New Orleans as you get in these parts. While discovering some interesting and tasty items on Taps' buffet spread, I found myself questioning the quality of many offerings and the glaring lack of other Cajun/Creole staples, such as etouffee and piquant sauce dishes.

But if you're into drinking handcrafted beers, champagne and exquisitely spicy "Ragin' Cajun" Bloody Marys (the first two come as part of the $23.95 price; the last for $3.50 a pop) while digging though soft-peel shrimp; large, tasty oysters; and buttery crawfish tails, Taps is where you want to be.

Taps Fish House and Brewery, 101 E. Imperial Highway, Brea. (714) 257-0101. Sunday brunch: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cost: $23.95 for adults; $8.95 for children 10 and younger.

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