Steaks on Rosecrans, Mickey’s goes Mexican, Yanagi’s mystery move, and more dining news

The parking lot at the old Mermaid restaurant (and more recently Slater’s 50/50) is being resurfaced in cobblestone in preparation for a new restaurant and expanded outdoor dining. Photo by Kevin Cody

A La Carte column for 10 June 2021

The parking lot at the old Mermaid restaurant (and more recently Slater’s 50/50) is being resurfaced in cobblestone in preparation for a new restaurant and expanded outdoor dining. Photo by Kevin Cody

Beginning of the end, part one: It’s five days before California drops many restrictions on dining, but we won’t snap right back to where we were. Some of the changes will benefit restaurants, which will still have the ability to sell alcohol to go and to serve in their nice, new parklets. You’ll still see increased distancing between tables at many places and restaurant workers wearing masks, but capacity will inch up as owners readjust their floor plans. Parking will become a more treasured commodity as the summer rush coincides with reduced space due to outdoor dining, so locals might spend more time in places that are walking or bicycling distance from home. The scene is set for a comeback, and restaurateurs with projects are rushing to get them open in time to catch that wave…

Openings: Smashburger is open in the Manhattan Village Mall, the latest in this chain that celebrates what happens when your sandwich is the one at the bottom of the takeout bag. Wait, that’s not really accurate – the burgers are actually made according to a formula that involves a meatball being smashed on a buttered grill for extra caramelization and juiciness. They’re above average for chain fare, and another good addition to the mall’s offerings (3026 Sepulveda, MB)… At the higher end of the spectrum, Eddie V’s is finally opening on Rosecrans in the old McCormick & Schmick space. The seafood and steak chain started in Austin and has been expanding rapidly – this is their fifth location in California. I can’t vouch for the food because I haven’t had it yet, but the interior looks gorgeous. We’ll all be able to find out beginning June 17 (2101 Rosecrans, ES)… Finally, the Manhattan House has reopened after a remodeling and a much-overdue replanting of the formerly jungle-like landscaping out front. If you’re in the mood for very well-made Italian classics and pizzas, stop in at the spot just west of PCH (1019 Manhattan beach Blvd., MB)

Coming Attractions: Mickey Mance III of Mickey’s Deli in Hermosa has a new and surprising business venture – a Mexican restaurant in Riviera Village. The location is the former Matty’s Crawdaddies, whose eccentric version of Vietnamese and Louisiana traditions never really caught on. The name will be Vida Modern Taqueria, and it’s Mickey’s first business with Justin Essman of Tower 12 as a partner. Details are sparse at the moment, and I am left wondering how the name Mickey’s will translate into Spanish… Reliable sources say the former Mermaid will soon become the second location for a Santa Monica-based upscale grill specializing in craft cocktails. I presume they’ll want to do a quick turnaround so they can catch the summer beach traffic… Another opening is certain – a new Mama D’s in the former Deluca Pasta in El Segundo. They expect to be firing up the pizza oven and slinging pastas on June 28…  Elsewhere in El Segundo, O Restaurant’s location on Main Street is looking closer to completion, and we may finally get to experience their take on modern Brazilian food.  And finally, though the remodel at The Rockefeller in Hermosa seems to have taken longer than anticipated, they’re now planning to open by the end of June, so upper Pier will have an even livelier environment…

Mystery Move: The Yanagi Bistro on Artesia had an ominous sign outside announcing that the property was for sale, and a developer has purchased it. When asked about this, they said they plan to reopen at another location that was “very, very close” but didn’t give details. There aren’t any vacant restaurant spaces on Artesia at the moment, so the new digs are a mystery. Another North Redondo puzzle is the new Pita Café, which was scheduled to open a month ago. A manager at one of their other locations said they can’t guess when it will open. It could be a permit problem, could be something else, and I hope it’s resolved soon because I like the food from their place in West LA…

Event Alerts: Now that we can get together, live and in person, some folks are wasting no time starting the ball rolling. Uncorked is hosting a celebration of rose wine at Slay’s Italian dining deck, which is conveniently just across the street from their Manhattan Beach location. $40 for non-members of their wine club, which includes beverages, cheese platters, wine, and human companionship. Sign up by calling (310) 372-2021… Other places are continuing to present virtual events, like Gelson’s which is presenting a virtual wine tasting on June 23rd. It works like this – you pick up the wines by Heitz Cellars and a cheese and charcuterie plate from the store and then attend an online seminar at which Heitz’s staff conduct he tasting. For more information check this link:

Beginning Of The End, Part Two: I don’t know anything about the new business going in at the former Hey 19 except that the owners have a sense of humor. The name of the restaurant is “The End,” and the sign out front promises “The End is near.” A touch of whimsy is always welcome. If anybody knows more about what they’re planning and when they will open, or about anything else that is new and interesting in the South Bay, please contact me – I’m at ER


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