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In the Pipeline: New entertainment complex brings in new cuisine

March 04, 2014|By Chris Epting
  • Executive Chef Paul Setola with some of his homemade pizzas.
Executive Chef Paul Setola with some of his homemade pizzas. (Chris Epting, HB…)

"Italian enchiladas, orange chicken mole and a homemade, savory corn bread waffle topped with a grilled steak chili cheddar cheese and topped with a fried egg."

Executive chef Paul Setola, 28, is running down a few of the new items that he has created at Fuzion, or rather at a restaurant inside Fuzion called Z.

Last year, the massive Huntington Beach entertainment complex, Endless Food & Fun on Edinger Avenue near Gothard Street, shut its doors. It has since been reopened and reinvented by one of the former owners, Keeli Scott Lisack.

She, along with marketing manager Stuart Takehara and some of the other original investors, has replaced the huge buffet with a bar and a brand-new sit-down restaurant — that would be Z.

Fuzion houses a huge high-tech game arcade, dual redesigned laser tag arenas, the Surf City Comedy Club and a host of banquet rooms available for private parties, meetings and get-togethers.

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But as Lisack told me, it's the restaurant that they're counting on to bring in customers. And it's Setola's menu that she's confident will do the trick.

"He's creative, enthusiastic and hungry," Lisack said. "What more could you ask for?"

Setola, a New Jersey transplant, has been cooking since he was 14. He went to culinary school, worked in Italian restaurants (his specialty) and, after moving to the West Coast a number of years ago, scored a job at Slater's 50/50 in Huntington Beach. He soon became regional kitchen manager and opened seven restaurants for the owners.

"What can I say except this is the dream," he said of the job that clearly gives him the most responsibility to date.

The restaurant was just days from opening. Back in the immense but quiet kitchen, he described his strategy.

"I want this menu to make it hard for the customer to order, in that I want people to look at it and think, 'Wow I can eat almost everything on here'" he said. "And I have created a series of items that reflect the Fuzion philosophy, that is merging cultures and doing things differently.

"That's why we have something like orange chicken mole, which blends Asian and Mexican cuisines. That's been my favorite part of the menu to work with, where I have been able to get creative and experiment."

He's proud of the fact that outside of the french fries, everything in the kitchen is fresh. Z staff cut their own meat and make their own pizza dough and bread.

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