Richard Foss

Adios Barrio, Denny’s decamps, A Fish rising, above standard at Pacific Standard Prime

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

A La Carte column for 02 September 2020

A Fish & Friends partners Jessica Lo Ibarra, and sisters Kate and Ashley Failor. Photo by Richard Foss

Diner Decamps: The Kettle in Manhattan Beach is now the last 24 hour dining spot in the Beach Cities, as the Denny’s at the corner of Artesia and Aviation made it official that they won’t reopen. This was not a culinary star in the South Bay, or even a decent coffee shop compared to others in the same chain, but it was a place to get something hot and cheap at 3 a.m. The night owl contingent will probably end up at the Kettle, where they will get much better food and service…

Good Ideas, Bad Location: El Barrio Tacos has closed too, despite the fact that they offered very good food. The low-visibility location on the Aviation curve was terrible for take-out thanks to a lack of parking, and they were doomed by the pandemic. The co-owner held out the hope that they might reopen elsewhere, and I hope they do because nobody else in the area is doing anything similar. No such resurrection is contemplated at El Segundo’s Soom Soom, which is shut shut. They were conspicuously unsuccessful thanks to uneven food and service, and the space across from Dick’s Sporting Goods is now vacant…

Surprise Opening: The former A Basq Kitchen on the Redondo Boardwalk is now A Fish & Friends, offering simple seafood expertly done. There are a few tables at the Boardwalk level, but the action is upstairs where they have table service and a great sunset view. The fish and chips, ceviche, and lobster roll were excellent, and the menu will be expanding now that they’re up and running. (136 N. International Boardwalk)…

First Look: I made it to Pacific Standard Prime in Redondo, which is serving excellent steaks along with American classics given a twist by chef Christine Brown. The outdoor patio has windbreaks, so the space is comfortable even with a breeze blowing, and with under 30 people accommodated at once it’s intimate even though distanced. I won’t list everything we had but will answer the question carnivores have been asking: the ribeye is memorably good, particularly with the brandy-peppercorn sauce on the side. Ask owner Kevin Leach to select the wine because he is an expert and has compiled a superb list. My wife, who doesn’t eat beef, loved the place too, so it’s not all about the cow. You may have to book in advance to get a reservation, but planning ahead is worth it (1810 S. PCH, RB)…

Mosa Returns: The new revamped Mosa just opened, serving a menu that looks a lot like the old Mosa. Appearances can be deceiving. There are several new items on the food menu, and co-owner Bob Lombardo says that the recipes on some of the old favorites have changed and portion sizes have increased. The intention is evidently to make this an everyday restaurant for the area, and it will be interesting to see how locals respond. (190 Hermosa Avenue, HB)…

Smoking So You Don’t Have To… Chef Callan Flowers, formerly of Chez Melange, has gone into business selling barbecue meats and the trimmings for pickup or delivery around the South Bay. His standard items are pulled pork, brisket, tri-tip, and smoked Cornish game hens, and he plans to run occasional specials. If you like to eat barbecue but hate to clean the grill, or live near Manhattan Beach and want better BBQ than you can make, check his Facebook page (no website yet)…

Odds And Ends: After a period in which the fate of the business seemed uncertain, RockN’Brews will reopen on September 24th  on Main Street in El Segundo. Since they have been serving on an outdoor patio all along, they presumably had an easier transition to these Covid days than most places. They’re debuting some new beers to celebrate the resurrection… I thought another business had changed concept when I glanced across the parking lot by Captain Kidd’s and saw the Samba Tea House. Some sleuthing proved that they are still serving Brazilian skewered meats, but the first and last letters of the word “steak” have burned out. They might want to fix that before all the expatriate Brits in the area come in demanding pots of Oolong along with cucumber sandwiches and scones with clotted cream… And Urban Plates is running the oddest culinary contest I can remember seeing: they’re asking all grandmothers and grandfathers who have a favorite meatloaf recipe to submit it for their consideration. The lucky winner will receive a $500 gift certificate at the restaurant, plus bragging rights for life. All recipes have to be submitted via a “VIG Sweepstakes”web form , which is not the preferred medium for people of grandparently age. (An AOL account would probably be more their speed.) Luckily grandchildren and other interested parties may nominate a grandparent, and if that person is the winner the nominator gets a gift certificate too.  My Polish grandmother’s meatloaf was made with approximately equal amounts of beef, pork, garlic, oatmeal, and pepper, and lacked a certain subtlety that would make it a serious competitor. If your grandma’s has more finesse, check out the contest…

Dine LA (Outdoors): There was some question about whether DineLA would happen this summer, particularly when the organization’s website went down a few days before the scheduled start. The site is now up and the event is still on, and as usual a fair number of South Bay restaurants are offering promotional deals on multi-course menus between now and September 18. This includes eateries that recently opened like Mosa and the new Source Cafe in Manhattan Beach, so if you are curious about a newcomer you can experience a full meal at a discounted price. Many places offer take-out options as well as dining in, and browsing the menus is pretty much guaranteed to stir your appetite. Check them out at discoverlosangeles.com/dineLA and start making reservations, because some places sell out quickly. Inexplicably, the city of Torrance decided to run a competing program for a shorter period, September 7 through 18. Torrance’s program is less organized and generally involves smaller discounts, and running it at the same time as the much better-known regional program is a questionable decision. If they had started it the week DineLA ends, they could have gotten much more attention and promoted the local scene effectively, but as things are it’s like someone doing karaoke in the back row of a concert while the show is in progress. Information is at discovertorrance.com/restaurantweek2020

Events? What Events: Restaurateurs sensibly steer clear of running culinary events during DineLA, but there is one scheduled for those who enjoy spirits, and you don’t even need to leave the house.  It’s a tasting seminar about gin on September 19, focusing on how different herbs and botanicals are used to create a wide range of flavors. I will be hosting along with cocktail and spirits expert Jason Horn. We arrange delivery of both the beverages and the botanicals used to make them, and teach you about the distillers’ art with a tasting of five different styles of gin. Prices start at $65. Visit “Thoughtful Feast” on Eventbrite…

And In Closing: Have you seen a new culinary business that I haven’t heard about, a local event either live or virtual? Do you have a favorite patio or know a place doing takeout with unusual flair? You can reach me at richard@richardfoss.com…ER

Comments:

comments so far. Comments posted to EasyReaderNews.com may be reprinted in the Easy Reader print edition, which is published each Thursday.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login