Monday, April 28, 2014

But Once You Analyze It...

I'd been looking for a new place, being thoroughly familiar with the menus at Hudson House, Tin Roof Bistro and Charlie's, a NY Joint.  I voted for Baleenkitchen, a part of the Portofino Inn, 260 Portofino Way, Redondo.  310-372-1202.

I thought the marina view through numerous sailing masts would be very nice and I was impressed by some of the menu items as well.  Lobster slider?  They are $7 a slider and I found that if you ordered 10 of then, you'd have a full-sized sandwich for an extraordinary amount of money.  I just wanted to taste one and it was so adorable that I almost couldn't bite into it. 

The "loaded" house-made potato chips supported a storm of Danish blue  cheese, chives and bacon ($8.)  We shared them and I shared with the waiter that it might all work out better if the chips were tossed with the dressing like a salad or if the dressing was thinned out a little and served on the side.  The chips quickly became fold-aways. 

Next up for me was the Shrimp Ajillo, billed as being shrimp in a spicy garlic sauce.  The sauce was very oily and had a little heat, but by no means overpowering.  

Richie's skillet-roasted half-chicken was served on a bed of ratatouille.($22) and he later commented that it was a small-sized bird, too.  I finished with a Caesar salad, half portion $6.  

There is a short stairway - no more than four steps from the entrance.  This is to provide a higher, better view of the King Harbor marina and all of the sailboats that live here.  We've been here for Christmas Eve dinners, years ago.  We liked the decorated masts which blurred beautifully in the etched glass windows.

Today the enormous sweeps of glass are gone;  instead there are many-paned windows.   The bar, on your right as you enter and was fairly raucous for a Saturday night; the dining room is on the left where it was much quieter and the lit fire created a friendly glow.

This is a restaurant test for me - whether the table is high enough to cross one's legs underneath it.  At the moment I discovered this,  I had no idea I would be spending an average of 15 to 20 minutes between courses which made for a really looong evening.  Sean the server was affable enough, but the kitchen must have been deep into the Quaaludes.  No way were they in the weeds. 

Dispirited by the slow, slow service, I even found fault with the view.  Once you've seem maybe 50  yacht masts, you've pretty much maximized their ability to amuse.

Would we go back?  Maybe, but probably not.  We live here and can see sailboat masts pretty much anytime we want to see them.  The Bloody Mary Bar might tempt me to return if only to taste "house-infused bacon vodka."

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