Richard Foss

Shark’s Cove swims forward, a biker bar goes upscale, holiday fare is served, and Mama D’s says goodbye

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A La Carte column for 06 December 2018

One Going, One Gone, And Two Rebirths… The original Mama D’s in downtown Manhattan Beach served its last plate of pasta and closed last week, and the new owners are already moving in. They confirmed that the new restaurant will serve Hawaiian-Japanese food, and will open in March. That’ll be just about the time that another nearby institution will close. Shark’s Cove will shift from a sports bar to an upscale Mexican restaurant, a very smart move given that the only other downtown Mexican restaurants, El Sombrero and Wahoo’s, offer conventional comfort food. The neighborhood will smell different without the wafts of garlic from one and will sound different without the bands and happy mayhem from the other. I haven’t liked all the music at Shark’s Cove but respected them for showcasing live music. With the departure of Shark’s Cove there will be no place in town that regularly offers live music, and it’s a loss for musicians who have fewer places to play and audiences that like live energy instead of canned tunes or karaoke howling…

And Two-And-A-Half Openings… The 1892 Bistro is open in Riviera Village, serving an eclectic menu that includes pizzas, burgers, and more upscale items like rack of lamb, Cuban ropa vieja, and paella. From the name, which commemorates the establishment of Redondo Beach, I had expected Victorian décor and retro food, but it looks like they’re a bit more modern (1729 S. Catalina, RB)… A more unlikely opening is Georgia’s, which replaced Gasser’s Bar on Aviation in North Redondo. The change has been complete, a loud bar with biker memorabilia on the walls transformed into a sleek, sophisticated watering hole. The food menu is small at the moment and is likely to stay that way until a kitchen expansion next year, but the beverage selection should make this a destination for the cocktail crowd (1500 Aviation, RB)… The shift hasn’t been quite as drastic at Hudson House, which closed for two weeks and reopened with a more upscale menu and décor. This has been a beloved locals’ hangout so any change was likely to freak some people out, and some regulars lament the loss of the burgers and steaks. I hope they like the Filipino BBQ pork sandwich and cheese-filled meatballs that are new additions to the menu – they both sound good to me (514 N. PCH, RB)…

Event Alerts!… There are generally few events in December except new year celebrations, and I don’t cover those because if I did this column would be endless. This year is different, and there are some intriguing things to report. One is Christmas-themed, but not around a local tradition. On December 11th Bluewater Grill will offer a New England-style baked stuffed Maine lobster with soup, sides, and wine for a mere $40. That’s a remarkable deal, and the meal minus the wine will be available for the rest of the month. Reservations and further information are at bluewatergrill.com, and if I were you, I’d reserve quickly… On the 19th The Standing Room in Hermosa will offer an Allagash Beer dinner, and for those who have never tried the products of Maine’s finest brewery, let me tell you that that’s an experience to be savored. As is always the case, the menu won’t be announced until the day of the event, but if you like surprises and great beer, this is the place to be. Go to eventbrite.com and enter Standing Room — you’ll find it… The next food and drink event is on the 19th when Dia de Campo hosts a wine dinner with Angeline Vineyards, a winery that sources grapes from all over California. This is the restaurant’s first wine dinner and they’re pricing it at $49 inclusive for four courses. More information and reservations are at Eventbrite.com… And finally, a seasonal tradition returns to Chez Melange on the 26th, the British Boxing Day. Depending on who you listen to, this holiday got its name when the servants were given boxes with presents the day after Christmas, or because the servants had that day off and left their employers a dinner in boxes so they wouldn’t have to either learn to cook or starve. You won’t be famished at the Chez because they’ll offer British holiday foods like prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, Scotch eggs, and Chicken tikka masala. (And yes, that last item is British – it was invented at an Indian restaurant in Glasgow.) Reservations are recommended – call 310-540-1222…

Some Bread For The Holidays… If you read this column on the day it comes out there are still four days of Hanukkah, a season with distinctive and solemn food traditions. Whether or not you’re Jewish, you might enjoy a loaf of fluffy challah bread, and you can get that at an unlikely place – not a bakery or grocery store, but the Manhattan Torah Center in Manhattan Beach. They offer not only the traditional egg or water, but raisin, seven grain, pretzel, chocolate chip, and others. You have to order on Thursday and it will be available on Friday – call 310-372-0941 for details. And yes, they offer challah the rest of the year too, but this seemed like a good time to tell you about it…

And In Conclusion… I rely on you, dear readers, for information about our ever-changing dining scene. Any new openings, any events I should know about, any other places for great cocktails and bread? I’m at richardfoss.com… ER

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