The Strand House in Manhattan Beach has seen some of L.A.’s most iconic chefs come through its kitchen including Neal Fraser and the legendary Travis Lett, who helped put the restaurant   footsteps from the beach on the culinary map. Newly installed executive chef Craig Hopson – formerly of Le Cirque in New York and more recently The Farmhouse – is carrying on the baton with flair, and has revamped the menu to celebrate the restaurant’s 10th anniversary this week.

Highlights from Hopson’s summer menu include tempura soft shell crabs with forbidden rice and a spice-scented tomato sauce, wild king salmon with toy box squash, agretti and miso dressing, a beet and plum salad with pistachio, peppermint and lime as well as cavatelli with Maine lobster and porcini. If you can make it in before Friday, August 13, Hopson has put together a genius 10-course tasting menu with an additional wine pairing.  

Roasted duck breast with faro, grapes,  hazelnuts and New Zealand spinach (Michele Stueven)

 It starts with an amuse-bouche trio of fried green tomatoes with tomato jam topped with smoked steelhead caviar, porcini panna cotta and sugar cube melon gazpacho topped with chipotle and basil oils. The marathon continues with tuna tartare on togarashi wafters, Alaskan halibut on top of a smoky sofrito and a roasted duck breast. The second course is a corn and chanterelle risotto topped with shaved truffles that are subtle and don’t overpower the entire dish. I’m going on record that if I am ever offered a last meal, this risotto will be the one. The dessert trio includes a passionfruit peach pavlova which can be added to that final request. Most of these dishes can also be ordered a la carte off the regular menu as well.

Classic favorites introduced from Fraser and Lett, like the yellowtail crudo and filet of beef, remain on the menu as an homage to its beachy beginnings.

The Strand House also has a refreshed new look created by Robert Weimer Designs, known for their work on  Fraser’s Redbird and BLD restaurants and Gyenari Restaurant in Culver City. The multi-level beachfront restaurant overlooking the pier has a lighter and airier feel and combines the friendly Manhattan Beach town vibe with a comfortable sophistication. Editor’s tip: When making reservations, try to secure table #320, it is the best in the house with panoramic views that go all the way down to Palos Verdes.  Ask for #321 if you want the outdoor version.

An Ivy Maid at table 320 (Michele Stueven)

Make It A Staycation

If you think you may be indulging in the wine pairings or a few too many Ivy Maids (vodka, lime juice, house-made simple syrup, Persian cucumber and mint) during the live beachfront summer entertainment featuring local artists in the SandBar on Thursday nights, consider staying overnight at the Shade boutique hotel in the middle of downtown.

Located within walking distance of the Strand House, the beach and all of the other dining options along Manhattan Beach Blvd., the hotel blends in seamlessly with the small town architecture. They are always offering valuable drinking and dining coupons for guests and the bartenders and staff are warm and welcoming.

The next morning, if you’re an early bird, you can head out for a walk along the strand to El Porto, then  grab breakfast at Zinc at Shade  – the coconut chia pudding with house made granola and fresh berries is A+ and will keep you filled up for the day. You can  checkout and be home by 10:00  a.m. Or, take your time and walk through the sunny Metlox plaza for a unique shopping excursion.


Breakfast at Zinc at Shade Hotel (Michele Stueven)

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