The Kettle is the sort of upscale neighborhood coffee shop where you might on a typical weekday night find a cross-section of Manhattan Beach society all under the same roof: a longtime couple on date night, a multi-generational family stretched across a long table, a high school choir fresh from their winter chorale, assorted loners and late-night gluttons. A stone's throw from the boardwalk, The Kettle encompasses multitudes -- in its clientele and its menu.
The menu stretches across several pages. Want cappelini and clams for lunch? Craving a plate of sweet, crisp buttermilk fried chicken for elevenses? Need buffalo wings at 2 a.m.? You can have it all at almost any time because The Kettle is open 24 hours a day.
In addition to their round-the-clock hours, The Kettle, with its instantly recognizable sign, is known for three of its sandwiches. We've already discussed plenty of pastrami in this series (Langer's, Oinkster, The Hat, Johnnie's, Brent's). The Kettle's famous walnut turkey salad boasts two elements we seldom eat and never write about: mayonnaise and raisin bread. For us, it's all about the pot roast dip.
It's a big, solid hunk of beef -- the Fabio of pot roasts -- but it falls apart in tender chunks with every bite. It's served on a standard French roll smeared with horseradish mayo and your choice of side (we prefer the seasoned fries). That alone would be enough to vault it into the upper echelons, but it comes with a generous cup of jus: thin, dark brown and not too salty. Like all the best dip sandwiches, it doesn't require jus to enhance its flavor or softness, yet the jus is somehow utterly integral. Dip, double-dip, triple-dip: this is a sandwich that deserves frequent dunking and even more frequent eating.