Richard Foss

Eruption in Redondo, a bittersweet farewell and a quadrennial wine dinner [dining news]

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A La Carte column for 13 February 2019

As Chez Melange co-founder Robert Bell closes Chez Melange’s doors after nearly half a century, Bell is opening Pacific Standard Time with Kevin Leach and Chef Noah Gott. Photo by JP Cordero

Starting The Year Running: Once in a while a neighborhood erupts in openings, and it seems to be Redondo’s turn. Starting in the south, after a long remodeling job, Matty’s Crawdaddies is serving in Riviera Village. They are seafood-centric but serving much more than peel-and-eat shellfish. You can get scallops, shrimp, chowder, a Connecticut lobster roll, and for those who don’t like fish, a Nashville hot chicken sandwich. I’m a big fan of Cajun and Creole food, so look forward to trying the place (1723 S. Catalina, RB)… If you want to cool down the heat after a meal there, you might visit Hand & Spoon, which opened up in the former Baskin Robbins. Since they serve the same specialty, ice cream, longtime customers only have to get used to a new name on the door (320 Avenue I, RB)… Up the road a bit, Taqueria Supremex has opened in the same strip mall as Avenue A. They offer street food classics, and you have to actually take them out on the street because there’s no inside dining area (800 S. PCH, RB). Further north and east, Anytime Hawaiian opened just east of Prospect on Beryl in the former Top Wok space. They serve traditional Hawaiian plate lunches with teriyaki and various fried seafood, but have a few interesting items like adobo, that are served only certain days of the week. The place is owned by a Hawaiian family who commute from Oahu, so things should be a bit more authentic than usual (1252 Beryl, RB)… Some sad news after all those openings – the Paris Baguette in Redondo closed in January. I thought their Asian-inflected pastries were pretty darn good, but evidently I was in the minority. No word about what’s coming next…

A Mystery: Does anyone know when the Swell Deli on Catalina will open? They planned to start serving in 2019, but I haven’t seen any work going on. If you know, drop me an email at the address at the end of this column.

And More Openings: Slay Italian Kitchen is serving in the former Jimmy’s Kouzina on Manhattan Avenue, and the inside has been prettily redecorated. The approach is similar to Slay’s other restaurant down the street: an emphasis on fresh and seasonal vegetables and refined versions of the classics. Slay has operated another very successful Italian restaurant in Orange County, and this is a cuisine he knows and loves (1001 Manhattan Ave., MB)… At the modest end of the price spectrum, Petros Grill is open in the Elevon development and had a good crowd when I visited. I recommend the braised lamb sandwich, but they also do other Greek and American fast food classics very well (743 N. Douglas, ES)…

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Event Alerts! On February 22 and 23 the folks at the Ragin’ Cajun in Redondo will do what people in Louisiana are most famous for — pile on the food and turn up the music. There will be live bands in the parking lot both days, and more crawfish then you might believe existed, plus all the sides and trimmings. Check ragincajuncafe.com for more info… Another event this month takes advantage of that once-in-four-years rarity, an extra day in February. Fleming’s on Rosecrans is offering a remarkable price on a wine dinner that will include duck confit, New York strip, and braised short ribs — only $100 per guest plus tax & tip. Reserve at (310) 643-6911…

A Bittersweet Farewell: I first went to Chez Melange the week after they opened, and the place has been a fixture in my life ever since. On the day that my wife gave birth to our first child she didn’t like the hospital food, so I ran to Chez Melange to get takeout and raced back to her room. She had about three bites and a sip of Folie A Deux red blend before falling asleep again, and I still have the bottle. The baby born that day has spent every one of his anniversaries with his fiancé there and was planning to have them cater their wedding dinner later this year. It is with sadness that I consider their last night in business, but they’re going to go out on a high note. They will be having one last bash with multiple food stations, open bar and wine selections, and much more. The price is $200 per person, and if you call (310) 540-1222 very, very fast you may be able to get a seat and raise one last glass to that inspired team led by Michael Franks and Robert Bell…

In Conclusion: Your tips help me keep up with what’s happening around the neighborhood. Any openings I missed, any events, any other places for spicy seafood? Please send an email to Richard@RichardFoss.com….ER 

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