Richard Foss

A la carte

Appropriate For Football Season…. In a recent visit to a restaurant I experienced two of the phenomenon I call server handoffs. You know what I mean – one person brings you the menus and takes your drink orders, another person brings drinks and lets you know about specials, and a third actually brings the meals […]

 Richard Foss

The Hibachi: old Manhattan meets new Hermosa

If you grew up in Manhattan Beach, you might remember a restaurant that was synonymous with Oriental mystery, a place where low tables were separated by paper screens adorned with Japanese-style paintings. It was everyone’s favorite date spot, thanks to the seductively low light, exotic atmosphere, and strong drinks served by waiters who rarely checked driver’s licenses.

 Richard Foss

Tin Roof Bistro [RESTAURANT REVIEW]

Strictly speaking, the Tin Roof Bistro doesn’t have a tin roof. A tin ceiling, yes – decorative plates of stamped tin were a popular material in the American West, and many a saloon took pride in ornate geometric tiles. The Tin Roof Bistro does boast a nice tin ceiling; it’s just that you can’t actually […]

 Richard Foss

Wooden ships full of sushi

I’m proud to say that I’m a tinkerer – that species of gadgethead who delights in clever machinery and likes to take stuff apart just to see how it works. I have spent happy hours working on cars, bicycles, clocks, and other broken machinery, and given my culinary interest it’s no surprise that my kitchen […]

 Richard Foss

A working Waterman’s

With service to match an ambitious menu, Waterman’s proves itself better than it needs to be When I say that Waterman’s in Hermosa Beach is better than it needs to be, it sounds like faint praise. It’s not, actually. There are restaurateurs that calculate what the market will accept and stop right there, either from […]

 Richard Foss

Kah: Odd coupling makes good fit

A Japanese chef I know has a grudge against any restaurant that calls itself “Asian.” While all Asian cuisines are heavy on stir-frying and soups, the term didn’t mean anything in terms of spicing, she complained – it included cuisines as diverse as Thai and Japanese. Nobody, she sniffed, would suggest that those cuisines had […]

 Richard Foss

A la carte

Cajun Goes Mobile – Twice!… By now you’ve probably heard that the Ragin’ Cajun restaurant in Hermosa Beach is closing at the end of the year, to the great sadness of locals who have frequented the place. Steven was stunned when his landlord decided to terminate his lease so that his son could try his […]

 Richard Foss

Sashi’s 5-Iron Chef America extravaganza in Manhattan Beach

Five veterans of the Iron Chef America TV show gathered to welcome Sashi Restaurant’s Makoto Okuwa to their ranks last month. Those who were at the restaurant on July 8 had a chance for a sneak peek at that episode – but first, they enjoyed a dinner made by those same celebrity chefs. Chef Okuwa and his colleagues Morimoto, Noriyuki Sugie, Sonny Sweetman, Troy Thompson, and Michael Voltaggio each made one appetizer and one main course, assisted by over twenty sous-chefs and a huge support staff.

 Richard Foss

Beach bucket

The car that is likely to be one of the showstoppers at the Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance at Trump National Golf Course on September 18 and 19 doesn’t look like much at the moment. It’s a hulk sitting on a rack in a dusty workshop in El Segundo, lit eerily from below with droplights and occasional showers of sparks where a restorer is grinding an axle bracket.

 Richard Foss

Calamari’s [RESTAURANT REVIEW]

The first time I passed Calamari’s restaurant in Redondo, I did a double-take. Was the place actually owned by someone whose name was Italian for squid? Or (even more unlikely), by an actual squid? Given that an octopus was successful at picking World Cup winners, perhaps cephalopods had taken up business management. Or perhaps this […]

 Richard Foss

Chelsea [RESTAURANT REVIEW]

A comic poet and philosopher named Tom Digby invented a word called “plergb” which is automatically redefined each time you use it. When the English language has thoughtlessly failed to provide the perfect adjective, you just use plergb and redefine it to suit your needs. This way you always have the right word for every […]

 Richard Foss

Homestyle gourmet: Four Daughters

When Four Daughters opened it looked like it was going to be a straightforward American restaurant. But as time went by the menu has evolved toward greater complexity and more modern style. Every time I visit Four Daughters Kitchen, I marvel again at how different it is from the restaurant that was formerly in that […]

 Richard Foss

Burgers with attitude

The homemade and handmade hamburgers we’re seeing at upscale restaurants are frequently filled with vibrant flavors and even worthy of pairing with a good wine. The best actually deserve to be called gourmet burgers, because the flavors are assembled with the seriousness of a chef rather than an assembly line. My new favorite place for […]

 Richard Foss

A La Carte: Rock Sushi, Ocean Tava lead wave of new restaurants

Visiting Royalty… I’m skeptical when any press release calls someone “one of America’s top chefs,” because superlatives are tossed around a lot in the promotion business. That said, the gathering at Sashi next week does boast cooking by chefs with star power, such as Top Chef champion Michael Voltaggio and Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. In […]

 Richard Foss

Gambrinus [RESTAURANT REVIEW]

Gambrinus opened with a very limited menu and service that was amiable but frequently uncomprehending. The restaurant changed hands about six months ago, and both the selection and the service have changed for the better. The Galickis family all speak fluent English and seem to enjoy explaining Baltic dishes to customers whose knowledge of this cuisine is small to nonexistent, and their preparations of traditional recipes are the best I’ve found in Los Angeles.