Dining

 Richard Foss

Darren’s [RESTAURANT REVIEW]

The people who answer the phone at Darren’s in Manhattan Beach must sigh when they’re asked the question, “What kind of food do you serve.” A number of adjectives come to mind: “eclectic”, “creative”, and “excellent” are all accurate descriptions, but raise as many questions as they answer. Chef Darren Weiss is an artist, and his original creations are hard to pigeonhole.

 Richard Foss

The Chicken Shack [RESTAURANT REVIEW]

This Chicken Shack is decidedly upscale, the lighting modern and muted, the paintings on the wall moody and romantic. As for deep-frying, they obviously do have a fryer, because they serve French fries, but the chicken here is cooked on a rotisserie. It’s still home cooking, but home was in Peru, and this fast food has a touch of South American elegance.

 Richard Foss

Asia House, El Segundo

Sometimes I think it’s unfortunate that there were so many tests in grade school that required students to name countries and their capitals. It’s useful to know these things, of course, but it leads people to think that capitals are all that are important, both politically and culturally. Often, they’re not. As an example, Sacramento […]

 Richard Foss

Hoka Hoka Sushi & Sake [RESTAURANT REVIEW]

I really enjoy traditional sushi, and I really hate describing it. At many restaurants, there is a limited variety of preparations and condiments, so descriptions become monotonous even when the actual experience was interesting. When everything is a matter of subtlety, the difference between fresh fish cut perfectly and the same fish cut almost perfectly, […]

 Richard Foss

Papillon, Filipino food in El Segundo [RESTAURANT REVIEW]

One thing that may have reduced the popularity of Filipino cooking in America is the preference for cooking with a lot of fat, especially fatty pork. Papillon may therefore be the best possible place for an introduction to this cuisine, because they offer both standard and vegetarian versions of most dishes.

 Richard Foss

HT Grill [RESTAURANT REVIEW]

HT Grill moved from venerable but cramped digs across the street and gave the place a startling renovation. Gone are the white walls that covered the old brickwork, the plastered ceilings and divided rooms, in favor of expanses of stonework and open beams. The once quiet room is buzzing with life, and the bar hops even on weeknights. It’s a whole new scene, albeit one with a pedigree; the menu not only has items that were popular in the old HT Grill location across the street, but favorites resurrected from the cookbooks of the Velvet Turtle.

 Richard Foss

Frascati [RESTAURANT REVIEW]

Last year Frascati moved to smaller premises in Rolling Hills Estates, an inconspicuous location in the Avenues shopping center. The new place seats about 70 people, less than half the size of the previous restaurant, but it’s a better fit. The feel is authentically Italian, the service assured, and while a few changes could be made in the food, overall we were satisfied.

 Richard Foss

Saluzzi, Rancho Palos Verdes

The supremacy of mini-malls has created a situation not unlike that a small child experiences in the days just before Christmas. That wrapped shoebox might contain a pair of socks, a copy of some video game you’re already tired of playing, or the electronic gadget you’ve been gazing at longingly in the store window for […]