Hermosa hibernation ends with Colombian, Slay, and Cultured Slice openings, Good Stuff reopening, plus wine dinners and other events
Hermosa Happenings… After a period when most new restaurant action was in El Segundo and Redondo, Hermosa is hopping. We’ll start with doings there and then get to other cities and an event roundup…
Living In A Musical?… A new Colombian restaurant called Encanto is coming to the long-empty ground floor space beneath Radici restaurant. The name resembles a certain popular animated movie set in Colombia, but I have been unable to confirm whether staff members include talking animals or servers with magical powers. I’ll be happy if they just serve good Colombian food; it’s a cuisine that is rare in these parts. The restaurant is scheduled to open this week and has an Instagram presence but no website. (934 Hermosa Ave.. HB).
Welcome Back, Good Stuff… Good Stuff Hermosa reopened after three months of remodeling, and what may surprise visitors most is what hasn’t changed. There’s new paint and more comfortable furniture, but it doesn’t look like the kind of project that would take three months. Much of the work was updating the kitchen, so the major change you might see is smiles on the faces of staff who have new toys to play with.
Destination North Hermosa… The former El Gringo at the corner of Gould and Hermosa Avenue is open for business again as Slay Hermosa, and it’s an upscaling from the down-home Mexican chow that used to rule here. The space has a sleek modern look, and the triangular room looks like it might be the lounge at the prow of a cruise ship. The upstairs deck gives more seating with an ocean view, and it’s likely to be a coveted spot at sunset. The menu is strong on seafood and there are burgers and fish sandwiches for those who like stylish versions of the classics. They opened Tuesday night and are currently open daily for dinner only. The menu is at slaybeachgrill.com (2620 Hermosa Ave, HB).
Sandwiches on Pier… The Cultured Slice sandwich shop is open in the space that longtime locals will think of as the original Either/Or bookstore, and serve about what you’d expect from an offshoot of a charcuterie and cheese emporium. It’s hard to verify that online because while they have a website, no menu is shown. They have put one on Instagram, but with no link for their own site. They’re not the only local establishment that has adopted this hide and seek attitude with their customers, but no one I have spoken to has given any semi-coherent answer as to why it’s a good strategy. I haven’t visited yet but intend to, because the cheese store’s selection has some delights not found elsewhere, and I assume the sandwiches will be top notch. They’re open daily 10:30 a.m – 4 p.m. (136 Pier Ave., HB).
And In Manhattan… The original concept at Caffe Altamura was to offer breakfast and lunch with coffee in the morning and a wine bar with snacks in the evening. There were delays due to remodeling, licenses, and the staffing problems that plague everyone, but they’ve finally achieved that goal. The menu isn’t on their website yet, but includes pastas, salads and other light meals made in traditional Italian style. You can check for yourself by stopping in Thursdays through Saturdays (1140 Highland, MB). Another Manhattan Beach restaurant has also changed their hours – after years of operating six days a week, Strand House is now open for dinner on Mondays. It’s always a vote of confidence in the local dining scene when a place increases hours, and this place deserved their success.
Dining At The Mall… We don’t know when the much-anticipated openings of Sushi Roku and Boa Steakhouse in the Manhattan Mall will happen, because both projects have been hit by the ubiquitous “supply chain issues.” We do know they will happen at about the same time, because the two restaurants share one kitchen. The restaurant’s owners are hoping for a September opening. Another newcomer called Saint and Second is set to debut in 2022, the first offshoot of an establishment in Long Beach’s Belmont Shore. They’re noted for upscale seasonal food and an encyclopedic wine list, and we’ll let you know as we get more details.
One In, One Out, One Moved… Time for El Segundo news…When Mandovi restaurant opened on PCH with chef George Godinho, they elevated the local dining scene with superbly executed food from the Indian state of Goa. The restaurant faltered after the Godinho left, and never regained their standard of food and service, and now they’re gone. No word yet on what will replace them. A few blocks south, there is new life at the former Salt Creek Grille in Plaza El Segundo as Sauced Barbecue moves in. The chain is known for grilled meats with all the sides, an expansive beer list, and axe throwing. Yes, that’s a thing, but it’s not flinging them around the dining room – there is a separate space where targets are set up with lanes like a bowling alley. (I haven’t asked yet, but they probably don’t want you to bring your own axes from home.) You have some time to practice your barbarian warrior skills, because they’re not scheduled to open until September. There was briefly a branch of Holy Cow BBQ on Aviation in El Segundo, but only a few months after they started serving a sign went on the door announcing a temporary closure. That closure has now been confirmed to be permanent, as the company is putting their energy into their new space in South Redondo. That’s still on track to be open in the next few weeks.
Redondo News… The struggling Artesia Deli closed last weekend, a misfire from a place that had all the elements for success but never put them together. They offered high-quality Spanish, Portuguese, and South American groceries and pastries, but nothing in their branding or advertising let the public know about them. No word yet on what’s next. A nearby location now appears to have the distinction of being the longest stalled project in the South Bay. Almost eight months ago management at other locations of the Pita Café said they’d be open in a week, but the former Louis Burgers remains quiet. Staff at other locations decline to answer questions or even pass on messages to management. Things are happier at Kotsu Ramen & Gyoza, which has been serving noodles, dumplings, and Japanese snacks on PCH in South Redondo. This is the tenth location for the chain whose northernmost outpost is in Camas, Washington, just across the river from Portland. The menu is fairly standard – if there’s something you like at Japanese fast food places, they probably serve it (1914 Ca-1, RB). Finally, if you head for the published location of a new Indian restaurant called Banana Leaf that opened in Redondo, you’ll find yourself standing in front of the well-established Arabic restaurant called Zayna’s Flaming Grill. You’re not lost – Zayna’s is co-hosting a kitchen with the well-regarded South Indian restaurant in Culver City. The operations have separate chefs and a separate grill, but there’s no signage announcing this yet. Banana Leaf is a real get for the South Bay – I have visited their original location and had some of the finest, freshest, most intensely flavored South Indian dishes in LA. There are two fine kitchens under this roof, and you should try them both (1310 S. PCH, Redondo).
Event Alerts! If you happen to be reading this on the day the issue comes out, you might see whether there is still space at Radici’s wine dinner on Friday, August 4th. Five courses of Italian cuisine will be paired with wines from Due Terre, hosted by winery cofounder Catherine Stratton. Price is $110 plus tax, reserve at Radici’s website. Fleming’s has an intriguing wine dinner with Caymus on the 5th, featuring the same wines paired with either vegetarian or omnivore menus. There’s nothing to stop two people who are dining together from ordering both menus and getting the maximum variety. The vegetarian dinner is $85, carnivorous is $115, before tax and tip. Reserve on the Fleming’s Steakhouse website. Pacific Standard Prime is offering a wine dinner with Napa’s famed Peju Winery on Wednesday, August 17th, featuring winemaker Sara Fowler. She’ll bring some of their limited production wines to a sumptuous four-course meal. Price is $195 per person, inclusive. Reservations available via Open Table or by phone at the restaurant. Mama Terano will have an event on Sunday, August 28th, featuring six courses of rustic Italian cuisine with wines at the modest cost of $70, plus tax and tip. Wine representative Gabriel Mecozzi will lead diners through Italian wines to match. It’s a great deal for a delightful evening. Call (310) 377-5757 to reserve. Uncorked continues their popular sunset tastings with Loscano Argentine wines on Wednesday, August 10th and Plough Family on Wednesday, August 17th, both at $20, and a wine and cheese event with Cultured Slice on Wednesday, August 24th for $35. Tastings are first come, first served. Sit outside and enjoy street life and wine, and life feels worth living again.
And in closing… If you know a restaurant opening I might’ve missed, a culinary event that should be covered, or just about anything related to food that I should cover, please send the information my way. I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org. And as long as you’re on the internet, check out past restaurant reviews on our website at EasyReaderNews.com. ER