Richard Foss

Fiorelli moves on, Sister’s Barn opens, new ramen shop on PCH, and more dining news

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South Bay dining news for 12 July 2018

Sister’s Barn owner Barbara Reger and chef Jesse Bajana. Photo by Brad Jacobson/Civic Couch.com

A Master Departs… The big news this week is the departure of Chef Michael Fiorelli from Love & Salt, the restaurant he cofounded four years ago. It’s an amicable split and he will be there until September, but his exit for a “new project in LA proper” still sent shock waves around the community. Fiorelli has been a high profile chef who has been involved with many major events, and it will be interesting to see who steps in to fill his role both in the community and at the restaurant. Father and daughter Guy and Sylvie Gabriele will keep things running at Love & Salt along with Chef de Cuisine Rebecca Merhej, and a new executive chef will be named in time…

A Barn Opens, A Casa Closes, And A Restaurant Transforms… Sister’s Barn is open in Redondo, and it doesn’t look much like an actual barn. I didn’t see a hayloft or any farm equipment, though I might have missed it. I was distracted by the unusual layout that is half gourmet market, half boutique barbecue joint. The environment is bright and modern with rustic touches, the prices on the high side – a half-chicken will run you sixteen bucks, with a side of duck fat roasted potatoes an extra five. The meats and other products are locally sourced, so there’s a reason for the tab, but it will shock people who go in expecting a typical sandwich shop. Sister’s Barn brings another layer of sophistication to the area, another example of the upscaling of PCH. (1408 S. PCH, Redondo)… Down the road just a bit, there was much surprise when Sushi Casa Arigato closed their doors, since the restaurant had been doing well. They shuttered for the noblest of reasons – the owners moved back to Japan to take care of some elderly relatives. The new tenant is Rakkan Ramen, specializing in Tokyo-style noodle soups, but unusual for the number of vegan and gluten-free offerings. They did a quick turnaround and started serving this Tuesday (629 S. PCH, Redondo)… And changes are afoot in the former Suburbia in Riviera Village, which is becoming another branch of Little Sister. Partners Tin Vuong and Jed Sanford are behind both places, so the transference in concept didn’t involve a change in ownership. Suburbia was one of many upscale contemporary restaurants in the area and didn’t stand out from the crowd, and adopting the unique pan-Asian menu is a smart move…

Oops! In Hermosa… ITA Italian Kitchen was supposed to be open by now but has a little problem, namely that they don’t have an actual kitchen. The former Hooked poke shop on the Pier Plaza is licensed as a snack shop, which means they are not allowed to have a stove or oven. This is more than a bit awkward for a place that that plans to specialize in calzones and pizza. The owners are appealing to the city to get the classification changed, and the Planning Commission will decide the matter on July 17th. Until the change is approved and implemented, you’ll be walking a little farther from the beach to get that slice of ‘za…

Open! Closed! Open!… The Manhattan Beach sushi bar I-Naba is one of the few places that has been able to deploy a “Now Open!” sign on three different occasions. The place started as a simple take-out counter, morphed into a high-end and exclusive sushi bar, closed and reopened as a “Tokyo-style standing sushi bar,” and then closed and reopened again. They’re still high-end, with lunch running from $16 to $45, omakase-style dinners starting at $80 and topping out at $180. Here’s hoping that they finally have all the paperwork in place to keep the door open and the raw fish flowing across the counter (1300 Highland #107, MB)…

Dine LA, Dine South Bay… The Dine LA program has eager fans among thrifty lovers of fine food, as it’s the time that restaurants all over the county offer deep discounts on multi-course meals. It’s scheduled from July 13 to 27, and over twenty restaurants in the Beach Cities are participating. Wherever you are, whether you are out for lunch or dinner, there’s probably a restaurant you’ve always meant to try, and this is the chance to do it on the cheap. Check the website at discoverlosangeles.com, and then make your reservation quickly, because some of the best deals sell out early…

Event Alerts!… You may have possibly noticed that it has been a bit toasty out lately, so going someplace that promises a sea breeze could sound particularly alluring right now. Terranea offers a respite at their Farm and Vine dinner series, at which Chef Andrew Vaughan teams up with a winemaker to create a menu for a small party of guests. The next one is on July 19, featuring the winemaker Troy Waters of Reiger Family Farms and Flowers Winery. The price is $217 inclusive, and tickets may be purchased at the terranea.com website… Other events this month include the St. Katherine’s Church Greek Festival this coming weekend. Stop in at 722 Knob Hill this Friday through Sunday for music, dancing, and a taste of Greek culture. It’s two bucks at the door, cheap for the chance to enjoy one of the liveliest, most joyous festivals LA has to offer…

The “White Light, White Night” charitable benefit for the Walk With Sally organization is scheduled for July 28, and it’s always the most visually spectacular food event of the summer. That’s thanks to the crowd as much as it is to the location atop a parking structure in El Segundo. Keep your goth gear and little black dress at home, because everyone will be dressed in white, and you will be amazed at what comes out of people’s closets that fits the theme. Food and drink will be there in great profusion, and Belinda Carlisle of the Go Go’s will be the musical guest. Tickets start at $225 – get them at walkwithsally.org…

A Tiny Success Grows… When I reviewed Panela’s in 2013 I marveled that anyone would put a three-table Brazilian cafe on a low-traffic side street. I liked the food, but didn’t think it was too likely that they’d be able to hang on in a space that had been lethal to several previous eateries. Not only did they hang on, they have now expanded into the space that used to be the neighborhood market next door. The room has been thoroughly remodeled into a welcoming space to eat homestyle pastries, sandwiches, grills, and stews. Congratulations to Panela’s, which has beaten the odds and deserves the success. Their old cubbyhole is now home to a smoothie and sandwich shop called Greentrees, and the people there must hope for the same kind of success (2808 Phelan Lane, RB)…

Any new restaurants I should know about, any events, any other great places in weird spaces? I’m at richard@richardfoss.com…ER

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