Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Darren's in Manhattan Beach, CA

Chef/owner Darren Weiss from Darren's Restaurant in Manhattan Beach may be one of the very few hearing-impaired chefs out there, but he never let that stop him. His restaurant is an institution in Manhattan Beach, making a mark since 2007 and has recently reopened after a renovation.

The new menu is divided into snacks, salads, small plates, large plates, and sides. Under snacks you'll find finger foods and breads like these Emmenthal cheese rolls with fleur de sel Tellicherry black, pepper whipped butter ($4)

Either because Chef Weiss started his career at restaurants in Hawaii or because Darren's is in Manhattan Beach, but there are plenty of seafood dishes on the menu.
Small plates: Crab cake (jumbo lump crab, daikon sprouts, soy dry mustard sauce, sriracha, sweet soy sauce, $22)
To say this crab cake has a generous amount of lump crab meat is an understatement. This crab cake was pretty much all crab meat and I loved it.

Darren's has a small but interesting beers on draft, featuring breweries like Ninkasi (OR), Ommegang, St. Feuillien, and more.

The large plates feature dishes like Crispy smoked Sonoma duck confit, green bamboo-green tea coconut risotto, king oyster mushroom, sweet and mild soy ($21)
The duck confit is slightly dry, but I liked the risotto. The flavors of the green tea and coconut were interesting and gave the risotto a richer texture.

The table favorite was the Saffron seafood pasta (orzo tossed with Maine lobster knuckles, scallops, fin fishes, black mussels, Mexican white shrimp, lobster cream sauce, $25)

As if we haven't had enough lobster, we also got a side of Lobster mashed potatoes (smashed Russet potatoes, lobster knuckles, brandy steeped shallot, mixed herbs, $18)

For a healthier side, try the Broccolini almandine, toasted Marcona almonds, garlic, herbs ($11)
The broccolini was fresh and crisp, and the crunch of the almonds added a nice enhancement.

Manhattan Beach has become a dining hotspot ever since M.B. Post opened in 2011, but before that there was Darren's. Chef Darren Weiss is warm and friendly, an inspiration who still gives back to causes he cares about, like No Limits for Deaf Children. Now, with the renovation and reinvented menu, Darren's aims to strengthen his mark on the South Bay dining scene.

Darren's Restaurant 
1141 Manhattan Ave
Manhattan Beach CA 90266
(310) 802-1973
Darren's Restaurant on Urbanspoon


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