RESTAURANT REVIEW – Slide into the The Slip
A few years ago I attended a demonstration at which a talented street fighter took on practitioners of a variety of different martial arts. The soundtrack for this was an insanely catchy pop version of an old standard called “It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it.” When not being attacked from all sides the featured fighter danced to it. It was an inspired soundtrack that made the point that all kinds of ideas can work when done with skill.
Fast-forward to now, and a restaurant called The Slip on the Redondo Boardwalk that started the same song running through my head. The location was formerly Kegs, a dilapidated sports bar whose claim to fame was the weekly Thai food Wednesdays. Last year new owners renovated and renamed it, leaving the TVs in place but improving the environment with a new bar, fresh paint, and eclectic nautical decorations. Superficially there wasn’t much change on the menu – it’s still bar food, but look and you’ll see an emphasis on quality. The potato chips, pickles, olives, pizza sauce, and other items are made in house, and they use artisan organic mozzarella rather than the cheaper stuff.
The housemade pickles are very tart and very good, but I can do without their lavender almonds. To be fair, I’m not a big fan of culinary use of lavender, save as an element of Herbs de Provence, so I find this hard to judge. The people at the next table were swooning over them, so as the Romans wisely said, de gustibus non disputandum. Among the more conventional starters, the wings were particularly good and served with a glaze that balanced the herbs and heat, and the onion rings were so good that my wife placed them in front of her and announced that she would allow the rest of us to have samples if we were good. This is significant because onion rings are her favorite indulgence and she’s picky about them. The rest of us at the table only got some because she was feeling generous.
On one visit I ordered their “Quin-Wow” salad as a second item, on the other Brussels sprouts with fresh burrata, apples, and mustard vinaigrette. Quinoa is such a fad ingredient that it’s on every menu, often done by the numbers, but this version with beets, berries, avocado, and pistachios broke new ground. I haven’t seen any recipe remotely like this elsewhere, and the combination of textures and flavors was startlingly good. It was also more filling than we expected, and would be an excellent vegan main course or starter for four.
The Brussels sprouts weren’t quite as outlandish in concept, but they were different from most of the ones served locally. Instead of being chopped and pan-charred or sautéed in oil they were quartered and cooked to lightly done with apple, topped with burrata, and dusted with herbs. It brought out the natural vegetable flavor and reminded me of German and Polish dishes made with cabbage and apples, though none of those traditionally include the buttery burrata.
These decidedly eclectic dishes were the prelude to all-American main courses: burgers, pulled pork sandwich, a chicken sandwich, pork belly BLT, and a Mobster pizza of mixed meats, roasted tomatoes, and pickled jalapenos. The burger and chicken sandwich were competently done but unexceptional, the pulled pork better of the two but piled so high with meat and slathered so exuberantly with sauce that it was almost impossible to pick up.
The pork belly sandwich was my favorite for flavor but was a bit unwieldy because the meat was cut very thick and was not quite tender enough to bite through neatly. Since it was moist the bun disintegrated before the sandwich was half finished. The remainder was a knife and fork experience, but a tasty one.
As for the Mobster pizza, the crust was much better than the average bar pizza but isn’t going to make gourmet pizzaiolos nervous. It was handmade and had a nicely seasoned sauce and plenty of meat, and using pickled rather than fresh jalapenos was a nice touch.
The Slip has a beer menu as eclectic as their food; it’s not encyclopedic, but the selection includes local heroes on tap and some unusual bottles and cans. They have a decent liquor selection and apparently intend to expand their craft cocktail menu in the future.
One dessert is offered, strawberries simmered in sherry served over whipped cream cheese with basil. It sounds great but I haven’t tried it, since I’ve filled up with appetizers and mains every time so far. They do what they do uncommonly well here, and show that bar food with flair can be a delight.
The Slip is at 120 North International Boardwalk in Redondo. Menu at theslipbar.com, phone 310-376-8910.