Richard Foss

Decadence switched, Front Porch opens, Serbian in Segundo, Tunisian feast, and other restaurant news

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A La Carte column for 16 January 2020

The modern interior of the new Metro Cafe, and one of their cevapcici sandwiches. Photos by Richard Foss

This is usually a quiet time on the restaurant front, when the tourist trade is at its ebb and dinner specials prop up a slow season. That is not the case this week. The South Bay restaurant scene has been rocked by the announcement of the imminent closures of Chez Mélange and Abigaile. (See related story.) But it would have been a consequential week even without those announcements.

Artesia Produce Is No More: After decades of selling Mexican and Arabic groceries and fresh vegetables, Artesia Produce has closed. The new business in that space is called Peachwave, and will still sell some produce as well as ice cream and sandwiches. Watch for an opening in late January…   

Porch On The Harbor: Most Redondo Boardwalk eateries offer modestly priced and not particularly ambitious food. The exception for a long time was A Basq Kitchen, and the new exception is in their former space. The Front Porch opened without fanfare at the beginning of this week, offering steaks, seafood, roast Cornish game hen, and other fare in a nicely remodeled space. It’s a bold bet to open an upscale restaurant here when so much about the pier redevelopment is up in the air (136 N. International Boardwalk, RB. Eatfrontporch.com)…

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Changes And Moves: Decadence opened in late 2018 serving adventurous Vietnamese fusion, which didn’t entirely catch on with locals. This week they switched to a chophouse menu, following a trend we’ve seen elsewhere. I was sorry to hear this, because some fusion items here were really fine, but perhaps they’ll keep some on as specials… Roman Aroma is keeping their modern Italian coffeehouse style but moving into a former Starbucks inside the South Bay Galleria. If the proposed remodeling and expansion there goes well and attracts more walk-by traffic this could be a great move. They’ll be closed for a while during the transition…

Balkanized: The Metro Café is open on Grand in El Segundo, an offshoot of a Culver City restaurant that serves eclectic American food and a few Serbian specialties. I stopped in today for a cevapcici sandwich (a Balkan seasoned hamburger) and a salad that included peas, cheese, avocado, and mint. They’re only open for breakfast and lunch now, but that will probably change in a while (131 W. Grand, El Segundo. Metrocafela.com)… The former occupant of that space was El Segundo Chophouse by Petros, but Petros lack of success downtown hasn’t discouraged him about the city’s prospects. The Petros Grill opened this week at Elevon, offering Greek and American items in a functional, modern space. They’re next door to the lively Eat Fantastic burger joint, so the clientele is there (735 N. Douglas, ES)…

 

Event Alerts! On February 3, you have a difficult choice: it’s cassoulet night at Dominique’s kitchen, one of the few days a year he makes the rustic casserole of beans with sausage, duck confit, and other goodies. Three courses run $49 plus T&T, wine not included. Call 424-247-9054 for reservations… An alternative is Love & Salt, where superstar guest Nancy Silverton will be the executive chef for two nights, the 3rd and 4th. Four courses with multiple selections will be offered from the masterful artist who created Campanile, Mozza, and so much more. $85 plus T&T, wine pairings extra. Reserve on the restaurant’s website at loveandsaltla.com…  

A Night In Tunisia: One upcoming dinner is special in multiple ways. It’s not only the first wine dinner at Barsha in Hermosa, it’s unlike anything else you’re likely to experience this year. On February 9 the restaurant will serve a Tunisian village feast, hosted and explained by owner Adnen Marouani’s mother, who is visiting from Tunis, the capital of Tunisia. Items will be served that are rarely seen outside that country, making this a must-attend event for those who appreciate culinary culture. It’s a bargain, too. Dinner with paired wines will run $100, including tax and tip. Check Barsha’s website at barshalife.com for booking information and other details… 

An Unusual Crossover: It’s not contradictory to be in favor of both healthy exercise and fine dining. You can enjoy both under the same roof at the “Be Well Brunch” at Gabi James. On January 25th there will be a mat Pilates class upstairs at 11 a.m. followed by brunch downstairs. Participants have a choice of 20 items and six cocktails, which is a generous reward for an hour of working out. $50 inclusive. Reserve by calling (310) 540-4884…

More News: There has been a change at La Buvette Bistro, the excellent San Pedro restaurant operated by Thomas Compagnon. Not in the food or the wine selection, fortunately, but the name. For legal reasons they had to change the name, so they used his – it is now Compagnon Bistro. Since Thomas’s last name means “companion,” it’s a great place to bring a friend… Dine LA Week is coming up soon, when restaurants all over town offer great deals. It’s actually more than a week, it runs from January 17 to the end of the month. Check out the opportunities at DiscoverLosAngeles.com, along with all sorts of other attractions in our fascinating megalopolis…

My Goof: In a recent column I misspelled the new Mexican restaurant that is opening on PCH in Redondo. It’s SupreMex, not SuperMex – I had all the letters right, just in the worng ordre…

In Conclusion: Your tips me keep up with what’s happening around the neighborhood. Any openings I missed, any events, anyplace else for Adriatic cuisine? Please send an email to Richard@RichardFoss.com. ER

 

 

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