Richard Foss

Jimmy’s departs, Paella Sundays, upcoming openings, and more dining events

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A La Carte column for 21 August 2019

Jimmy’s owners Andrew Hantzarides, Julie Berber, and Natalie Stamiatiou on their last night in business. Photo by Richard Foss

End Of An Era… Jimmy’s Kouzina has served its last souvlaki, the end of an enterprise that has been in business since 1984. The Italian and Greek restaurant opened as Old Venice but never served Venetian-style food, and it has been a mainstay in downtown Manhattan Beach. Their customers will mourn the loss of a place that offered fine hospitality and good Greek food and pizzas. No word yet on who will move in, except that they they’ll still be serving pizza…

Addi’s Is Back!… After several months of remodeling, Addi’s Darbar has reopened, and the improvement to the interior is considerable. The restaurant’s grand reopening lasted for hours and was attended by several hundred people, and catering it was a remarkable feat for their moderately sized kitchen. The food is the same eclectic selection of Punjabi food from the north of India and Goa-style cuisine of the south, and it is delicious as ever (800 Torrance Blvd. #101, RB)…

Return To Form, Sort Of… The building at 228 Avenue I was Casa Pulido for decades, then briefly a Chicago For Ribs, and now it’s another Mexican restaurant again. Kalaveras has been open for a few weeks now, and the tasteful remodel from the failed barbecue joint has been generally applauded. The food menu has several vegan options but IS otherwise standard, while the bar offerings are rather more varied than usual. I haven’t visited yet but have heard that they’re having some of the inconsistencies in food and service that bedevil most new places. This block will get another high-end restaurant when the Rex Steakhouse opens later this year across the street, so Kalaveras is likely to benefit from more attention to an avenue that has mainly been an access road…

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And Coming Attractions… Elsewhere in Redondo, the Riviera House, formerly Sophie’s, is expected to open within the next few weeks. While ownership is the same the style will change – the new restaurant will have a focus on seafood and cocktails, which is quite a change from the burgers and beer of the former establishment. The new Hook & Plow (formerly 1892 Bistro) will take a few weeks longer, and management has confirmed that at least initially the menu will be the same as the original in Hermosa. Also in Riviera Village, Poke Rainbow is open, with an unusually wide variety of seafood and add-ins and a nontraditional style – nothing is marinated until you order, which puts this more in the realm of sauced sushi than poke, at least if you’re a purist (1811A S. Catalina). Two more openings will follow soon in the same block, juice bar Punchbowl and a branch of Hi Fi Espresso… Further north, Mercado is scheduled to open in the Manhattan Mall in September, followed closely by Joey’s and Dan. The fact that all three are in new construction means they’re likely to be on time, which has not been the case with several other projects in town. In El Segundo, the AC Hotel that recently opened East of Sepulveda on Maple will soon open a rooftop restaurant. Chef Dustin Taylor has worked at prestigious restaurants around LA like Comme Ca And Michael’s, and I’m interested in seeing what he’ll do. How they’ll manage the challenge of a rooftop space so close to the noisy airport, freeway, and Green Line is an interesting question, and there’s no knowing until they open…

Event Alerts… The big one is back – the “Evening Under The Stars” at American Honda in Torrance is this Saturday, August 24th, featuring food from over twenty restaurants, a wide variety of wines, and live music by saxophonist Kenny G. Tickets are $200 each – go to torrancememorial.org or call 310-517-4703 to reserve… And on both days this weekend beer lovers have something to celebrate – a comedy, music, and beer festival called Brew Ha Ha is coming to Hermosa. (They get points for coming up with a clever and appropriate name.) There will be a beer garden, wine tastings, food trucks, and a variety of other attractions – check their listing at Eventbrite for more details and to beat the line for beer tasting tickets… The literary among you (and I’m assuming you all love to read, because you’re reading this) will want to be at Pages Bookstore in Manhattan Beach on August 29th at 6 PM. That’s when Amanda Haas will talk about about her new cookbook, “A Vibrant Life.” Amanda is the former culinary director at Williams-Sonoma, and the $40 admission includes a copy of her book. You can get sign up at the Pages website or Brown Paper Tickets websites… You might want to take a break from cooking those recipes and go out for an afternoon of food and beverages, and if you do that on September 6th there’s an event in Manhattan Beach at a venue you’ve probably never heard of. Pub At The Club is an intimate event at the Manhattan Beach Badminton Club, located just off Valley Drive in a residential district, and it’s the venue for a Junior Foundation benefit. Tickets are $89, and you can see the list of wineries, breweries, and restaurants at pubattheclub.com… And you know those evenings when you can’t decide whether you feel like having wine or beer? The people at Gabi James in Riviera Village have a night just for you. On September 16th they’ll offer four courses paired with both wine and beer, so you can taste them side by side and see which goes best. The price is $95 including tax and tip, so it’s a deal. Call 310-540-4884 to reserve…

Savory Sundays And Fish Fridays… Three local restaurants are offering specials to help you end the weekend on a high note. A Basq Kitchen on the Redondo Boardwalk has been serving paella on Thursdays, which has been so popular that they’re doing it on on Sundays too. The add-ins will vary from week to week, so heck their website for details and to reserve… Gabi James is serving paella on Sundays too, so you can go on successive weeks to compare. $35 gets you paella, $50 two glasses of wine with it… If you prefer Italian classics, consider the Sunday four course dinner special at Radici in Hermosa. September’s menu is soup, rolled eggplant, braised short rib risotto, and dessert for $40 – call 310-318-0778 to reserve… Should seafood be your thing, head for Terranea, where the Catalina Kitchen now offers a seafood buffet on Friday nights. It may be no coincidence that they’ve started this the same week that the Admiral Risty closed, since lots of seafood lovers just lost a favorite haunt. The buffet is $75 – reserve via Terranea’s website or just show up and grab a plate…

Communicating With Customers… Many restaurants start Facebook pages to advertise special events and menu items, but then forget to update them or decide it isn’t worth the trouble. This can cause problems when a special is advertised but never removed, and customers show up for something that hasn’t been offered in months. It’s even worse when a restaurant closes temporarily and customers check the page to find out what’s going on, only to find no information. (A case in point: Avenue A in Redondo has been dark for weeks, but the most recent update on their page is from a year ago.) I get that restaurateurs are busy, but all of your customers know how little effort it takes to type a sentence or two into Facebook and hit post. As methods of communication with your customers go it’s vastly inferior to a website, but if you have a Facebook page, either use it or delete it…

And In Conclusion… Your tips help me keep up with what’s happening around the neighborhood. Any openings I missed, any events, anyplace else for a nice plate of paella? Please send an email to Richard@RichardFoss.com.

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