Richard Foss

Plaza pizza, Serve on Second, caffeine and chocolate, and more dining news

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A La Carte column for May 9, 2018

A bento box lunch at Kotosh includes sushi, salad, and Peruvian saltado stir-fry and causa (layered potato and vegetable dish). Photo by Richard Foss

Communication Strategies… Back when expensive professional skills were required to update websites it was okay for them to remain static, but in the age of WordPress and similar platforms any high school student can do the job. So why do so many restaurants have outdated menus on their sites, or feature announcements of events long past? Even more critical, why are they silent when faced with events that make communication with customers essential, like a delayed opening or sudden closure. Some restaurants have been open for weeks with websites still proclaiming “Coming Soon!” and others have been closed for months but still have sites luring diners to dark and empty rooms. I know that when a business is opening you have a lot to do, and when one goes under it’s tempting to just walk away and not deal with stuff, but please turn the lights on when you arrive and turn them off when you leave…  

And Finally Open in Hermosa… Banzai Beach had the open sign out while actually being closed for so long that it’s refreshing to see that they are actually serving. I haven’t dined there yet but stopped in to look at the place, and the refresh on the interior has been nicely handled. (934 Hermosa Ave., #1 HB). In other Hermosa news, Serve on 2nd (the former Tammie’s) is scheduled to open within a few weeks. The place is planned as a family-friendly, morning-until-evening restaurant, a rarity in this neighborhood. Although the makeover took over a year, that’s not long for the South Bay. Other remodels started at the same time are still in progress, and the opening for Decadence has been delayed to August. Their neighbor Chelsea, the popular dance club and restaurant that shares a kitchen with Underground, is about to start a remodel and may be closed for a brief period. And there has been some bad news for fans of Hooked, the poke specialist on the Pier Plaza. They went out of business a few weeks ago and will reportedly be replaced by a pizza and calzone specialist. And until I typed that last sentence it hadn’t occurred to me how odd it is that a tourist mecca like the Plaza hasn’t has a place where you can get pizza by the slice since Zeppy’s closed four years ago. Paisano’s is just around the corner, but there’s still definitely a niche to be filled… Though Hooked closed, the number of poke specialists in town remained constant, as North Shore Poke Company opened right around the corner on Hermosa Avenue. They offer acai bowls as well as poke, but at least so far none that mix the South American berries with Hawaiian-style marinated tuna. They have both so you can probably request a combo, and while I’m not going to try it first I’d be happy to receive your report on how it tastes. (1127 Hermosa Ave, HB)

New and Noteworthy… Kotosh is open on Highland in El Porto, offering Peruvian traditional fare and fusion sushi in stylish surroundings. Their bento box lunches are remarkable, making this a daytime destination as well as a nice night out. The price is surprisingly moderate for the location, and it brings added excitement to the prospect of dining in North Manhattan (3713 Highland #8, MB)… Elsewhere in the area, reassurances are in order at Sloopy’s. Though a notice in the window announced that the place changed hands last month, it sold within the family and no huge changes in menu or concept are planned…In the downtown area, Homie is scheduled to open next Monday in the space next to The Kettle on Highland. They’re a breakfast-through-dinner operation serving eclectic American food at moderate prices, with a small gift shop in the back. (1140 Highland, MB)…  Redondo got a new bakery, the cunningly named Redondough, in the shopping center at Beryl and Prospect. They’re mainly a dessert bakery but are offering croissants and sandwiches, and the early reports have been positive. (1218 Beryl, RB)… 

Tapas & Vino to Resurface?… Tapas & Vino in Riviera Village has been closed for more than a month and most of their customers have assumed that they won’t be back. Reached by phone, owner Andrew diGirgis said he is traveling right now but plans to remodel and reopen when he returns. If he does, it will be interesting to see how many of the previous staff return, as the market for experienced servers is tight, and many have probably found new jobs already. You probably won’t find out by checking their Facebook page – the newest post is from February and is about their Valentine’s Day menu…

The Caffeine News… Redondo Beach is about to get another boutique coffee roaster, Klatch Coffee. The winner of multiple gold medals at coffee championships started in Rancho Cucamonga 25 years ago, and brings rare small-batch coffees to a wide audience. They hope to open on PCH near Diamond by Memorial Day. Another new coffee operation is already open. Caffe Tre Venezie is an Italian-style coffeehouse serving fresh pastries, sandwiches, and gelato at the corner of Hawthorne and PCH in Torrance. The interior décor is delightful and brings a Venetian palazzo feel to a strip mall, which is quite a trick. (3525 PCH, Torr)…

News on the Peninsula… A new branch of Crème de la Crepe just opened in the PV Promenade, marking the seventh for this very successful local business. (550 Deep Valley Dr. #145). Another new operation in the area is the first offshoot of a venerable local institution. The San Pedro Fish Market Grille just opened in the Peninsula Center and expands the standard build-it-yourself plate idea. They offer a wide variety of seafood broiled or fried as a plate, taco, burrito, sandwich, quesadilla, salad, etc., with daily specials depending on what came in at the market. The San Pedro Fish Market has always had a commitment to locally caught seafood and plans to keep it as they branch out for the first time since their founding in 1982. The only downside is that there’s no sunset view over the harbor… (3 Peninsula Center, RHE)…

Caffeine + Caffeine… Do you enjoy both tea and chocolate? You can see if you like them even more in combination at Marsatta Chocolate’s tea and chocolate evenings. They’ll be celebrating combinations of specialty teas and handmade chocolates every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. – get details and reserve at marsatta.com…

Beer For Surrealists… They’re not in our core coverage area, but I must take note of what may be the weirdest concept for a brewery ever. The proprietor of Ximix Brewing in Gardena is a renegade prince from Proxima Centauri who fled his home planet to avoid Prohibition, and… well, I can’t go into the whole thing because it’s too involved. I would be skeptical about this, but to prove them wrong I would have to travel to their planet to inquire, and Lyft refuses to give me a ride anywhere past the orbit of Neptune. If you’d like to sample what they’re quaffing on planets far away, the local option is at 13723 ½ Harvard Place in Gardena…  

Know any new openings, any events, anyplace else I can get a great croissant? I’m at Richard@richardfoss.com… ER           

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