Thursday, January 30, 2014

Valentine's Day Menu + A Revisit to Baleen Kitchen at PortofinoHotel,Redondo Beach

While Baleen Kitchen, hidden inside the Portofino Hotel, is relatively unknown to those not living in the South Bay, it tends to be to go-to special occasion restaurant for Redondo Beach locals. I personally had only been for lunch more than 2 years ago but remembered liking it. For Valentine's Day, they've put together a 5-course menu for $85 ($115 with wine pairing). I got to taste three of the menu items as a preview.

There will be an amuse Bouche of Shaved tuna, chili tapioca, lime sorbet
The lime sorbet added a really nice texture and temperature contrast to the dish.

Grilled maitake salad, avocado, haricot vert, heirloom tomato
I like how the focus on the dish is still the salad, with maitake accompanying each bite. The crisp vegetables combined with the earthy mushrooms get your appetite going. The other appetizer option is the Peekytoe crab cake.
Roasted black sea bass, grilled maitake mushroom, tender pea shoots, aromatic broth
It's rare to see these particular pea shoots, bean sprouts, in Western cuisine, but it's a really nice complement to the sea bass.

The restaurant gets pretty full on Valentine's Day but they will be serving the menu in the hotel lobby as well.

If you are coming not on Valentine's Day or wanted something extra, there are a couple dishes to try. The first is the lobster Mac and cheese with white cheddar ($16)
Lobster Mac

The other dish I enjoyed was the Duck carnitas with cornmeal crepes and apple slaw ($15)
Duck Carnitas
The chewy crepes are a nice substitute to flour tortillas and the apple slaw cut the richness nicely.

The cocktail menu here is mostly vodka-focused but I did enjoy the Mezcalero with Ilegal joven mezcal, aperol, and strawberries ($11)

Baleen Kitchen
260 Portofino Way
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
(310) 379-8481


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