Richard Foss

South Bay Dining News: Kona Grill comes to MB, El Segundo’s elevon names restaurants, Hey 19’s Irish/Japanese night, Rebel Republic comes to RB, and more….

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Petros Benekos willwill be opening Petros Saloon, described as a Greek-style sports bar, and a separate coffeehouse at the elevon project in El Segundo. PHOTO BY BRAD JACOBSON

Petros Benekos will be opening Petros Saloon, described as a Greek-style sports bar, and a separate coffeehouse at the elevon project in El Segundo. PHOTO BY BRAD JACOBSON

by Richard Foss

El Segundo On The Move… The Kona Grill will soon replace the closed Romano’s Macaroni Grill on Rosecrans. This is the first California location of a nationwide chain, and there isn’t currently one any closer to Kona than Las Vegas. The menu is Contemporary American with an Asian influence and sushi bar, with cocktails served of course. Watch for an opening in summer…

Elsewhere in town, the people behind the Elevon project have announced the restaurant tenants, which are surprisingly eclectic. Elevon is by the corner of Nash and Mariposa, in an area with no nearby housing —  the usual pattern for this type of location would be national chain restaurants, but instead local operators are prominent. Petros Benekos will be opening Petros Saloon, described as a Greek-style sports bar, and a separate coffeehouse; those who enjoy strong Greek coffee will be able to get their fix. Lisa’s Bon Appetit, a Torrance catering company that operates a café, will open a sandwich shop, and the Ocean Market Grill will open their first outlet outside of Long Beach. The area will have little or no visibility to drivers on major streets but would serve the nearby offices, three hotels, and passengers at the metro stop. Places should start opening late this fall, and we will see how this intriguing gamble pays off…

Kampai and Slainte!… It is not often that Japanese and Gaelic traditional toasts are heard together, but it would not be surprising if that happens on March 30 at Hey 19. On that evening there will be a tasting dinner featuring whiskies from the Suntory portfolio with a menu by Vasili Tavernakis, the chef whose pairings of food and drink have been startlingly effective. The cost is $85 inclusive, and seating is limited – call 310-378-8119 for details…

A Newcomer in Riviera Village… The former Mickie Finnz is being remodeled into a craft beer bar and restaurant called Rebel Republic Social House. The Hennessey Group did not respond to questions about the menu or concept, but the Rebel Republic location in Las Vegas serves mainly burgers and sandwiches. That location is also open 24 hours, which may be a Vegas thing. On the other hand, an all night place might do well in this increasingly lively area…

The Spectrum Of Paella… Spain’s most famous rice dish can be made in many different ways, and if you want to experience several of them you might end up dining at A Basq Kitchen four days in a row. Between March 24th and 27th they’ll be serving paella with mixed meats and seafood, shrimp, rabbit, and lamb. The little Basque restaurant on the Boardwalk keeps coming up with new ideas that reflect their traditions, and if you haven’t visited yet, this is a great excuse. (136 N. International Boardwalk, RB 310-376-9215)

First Looks… Over the weekend I stopped in at Kech, an Armenian- influenced sandwich shop that opened in the former Antigua Café space next to Buffalo Fire Department in Torrance. The garlic chicken lahvosh wrap was delicious, as was a black forest ham sandwich and Mediterranean-style potato salad. If you’re looking for quick and inexpensive eats in Torrance, this could be your new hangout… (1231 Cabrillo Avenue, Torr. 424-376-5000)

Bringing Your Own… I try to list corkage fees in my restaurant reviews, but this is less easy than it might seem because the rules are sometimes byzantine. At some restaurants there is no corkage charged on the first bottle but there is on the second, and sometimes corkage is charged only if you are bringing a bottle that duplicates something on their list. Some restaurateurs comp good bottles but charge when they see two-buck chuck or other supermarket specials, and at least one place comps good wines when the customer shares a glass with the sommelier. I will try to list corkage fees in my writings, but please be aware that the situation at some restaurants is more than a bit opaque…  

Any new restaurants I should know about, any events? I’m at Richard@richardfoss.com…

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