Not so long ago, Redondo Beach in my mind consisted of a crowded beach and the pier (which has Izakaya Bincho and Quality Seafood, both great). Enter Baleen Los Angeles at the Portofino Hotel and Yacht Club, a much quieter, less touristy spot away from the pier.
|The Chef's Burger|
The lunch menu ranges from full size salads, to sandwiches, five different burgers, to fish tacos and pastas.
We decided to let the chef, Jesse Souza, bring us whatever he wanted us to try. We started with two full-meal-sized salads: Grilled Shrimp Salad, baby tomato, grilled bread, arugula, olives, cucumbers, feta, white balsamic vinaigrette ($17), and Caesar Salad with Steak ($16)
His goal with the salads were to fill you up without weighing you down and they both worked well. We loved the sweet, grilled shrimp with the tomatoes and cucumbers, the medium rare hanger steak and crispy potatoes on a bed of crisp lettuce. Simple and with fresh ingredients, the combinations work together nicely (especially the crumbles of blue cheese on the steak caesar salad).
If you're looking for a heavier, more satisfying lunch, get The Andrew Jackson Burger, aka The Chef's Burger. Actually, you should probably try this burger no matter what.
Not your ordinary burger, it is topped with braised short rib, candied bacon, fried egg, aged cheddar, crispy onion, cole slaw, and burnt sugar bbq sauce ($20)
For the more health-conscious one, there are the Grilled Fish Tacos (local pacific snapper, avocado, pico de gallo, jalapeno, cabbage slaw) - $16
|Fresh OJ, Tea Forte|
For dessert, we had a lemon meringue pie with raspberry and passionfruit sauce.
I loved the creamy lemon filling (though just a tad sweet for me), the soft, crumbly crust. The sweetness of the sauce and meringue nicely balances the tartness of the lemon filling, though I don't think they needed to put as much sauce as they did.
I had come in with no expectation, having never heard about Baleen before, but we were both very pleasantly surprised. (Incidentally, the name Baleen doesn't actually come from Baleen whales, but apparently some old lore about a monkey-inhabited island called Baleen.) I can see the allure of a summertime lunch at Baleen. A nice, quiet lunch overlooking the water, with solid options to please everyone.
You won't find anything particularly adventurous items on the menu, just familiar food, done well. Oh, other than the burgers, Chef Souza gets rather creative with those. You should try the Chef's Burger with the short rib and candied bacon and egg, and I still have to return to try the "Frenchy" burger - topped with duck confit.
Baleen Los Angeles
260 Portofino Way
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
Disclosure: this meal was hosted