THE STRAND HOUSE
SAVORY SOUTH BAY SPOT NOW OPEN
The long-awaited Strand House, a contemporary new American restaurant, has opened its doors in Manhattan Beach to the delight of South Bay enthusiasts who enjoy fine dining and savory drinks in a swank setting with a beautiful ocean view.
From the folks at the Zislis Group, headed by entrepreneur/restaurateur/hotelier Michael Zislis who also owns Rock'n Fish and Manhattan Beach Brewco across the street, as well as Mucho Ultima Mexicana, Shade Hotel, and Rock & Brews in El Segundo, The Strand House, located just steps from the Manhattan Beach pier, is inspired by the iconic beachfront homes in the area and features stunning ocean views in a modern multilevel venue.
“I’ve had my eye on this location for decades and am excited to finally open The Strand House, just steps from the sand,” Zislis pointed out. “The restaurant will bring together great food and unrivaled views with a relaxed, modern home environment.”
Featuring a menu that changes weekly, certain items that will become staples are the wood-fired artisan pizzas, fresh handmade pastas, and house-made breads. Upon entering The Strand House, you’ll notice a 24 bottle wine dispensing system in the waiting area, which allows you to sample a variety of wines for as little as $2 a taste to wet your appetite before dinner.
During our recent visit, we played with the dispensing system and sampled some wines as we waited for our table. Once seated in the packed dining room, we opted to try some of pastry chef and “Top Chef: Just Desserts” alum Seth Caro’s $12 signature cocktails. The Tom Hudson, prepared with Tanqueray gin, fresh young coconut water, palm sugar, limejuice and aromatic bitters, is extremely refreshing. The Strand House Margarita, with Tamarind infused tequila, fresh limejuice and a smoked salt rim, is good but probably not worth $12 for a margarita. However, the Hammerhead, made with Cruzan single barrel rum, 151 proof rum, absinthe, falernum, spice dram, limejuice, kaffir lime leaf, and mint, is a winner. If you don’t like your drinks with a kick, beware.
We started our meal with a fine Heirloom Tomato Salad with greens, balsamic onions, Burrata and avocado, followed by the light and tasty Hamachi Crudo with Garcia Farms avocado, tomato seed vinaigrette, and red alaea salt. Upon the recommendation of owner Michael Zislis himself, we paired our first course with a fine 2009 Cade Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.
Sharing a trio of small plates we sampled the Duck Rillettes with roasted shallot and Pedro Ximenes reduction, along with the Duck Paté, made with duck, duck liver, duck fat and garlic, and the Head Cheese with pork, coriander and black pepper. This was a fine course of nibbles and bites that paired excellently with a 2008 Russian River Orogeny Pinot Noir.
Wanting to try the signature house-made pizzas, we shared the delicious House-made Chicken Sausage Pizza topped with asparagus, Midnight Moon goat cheese and fennel. Served with a fine, crispy crust, the house prepared sausage had a hearty and robust flavor, and went well with the 2006 Rutherford Provenance Cabernet Sauvignon.
If that wasn’t enough, we shared for our main entrees the Grilled Wild King Salmon with roasted shitake, ginger vinaigrette and sesame seeds, the Sautéed Halibut with English pea risotto and pea nage, and the Grilled Prime Hanger Steak with onions, watercress gremolata and capers. Both the salmon and the halibut were fantastic light and healthy options. The pea risotto with the halibut was mouthwatering. And the steak was a nice and filling choice, and paired well with a 2007 Napa Valley Ceja “Viño de Casa” blend.
Desserts at The Strand House are serious business and soon to be favorites are the cube shaped Butterscotch Donuts with powdered bacon and burnt peach jelly, and the Strawberry Tart Flambé. The donuts are rich, decadent and plain evil in a good way, while the strawberry dessert is lighter and a less guilty pleasure.
The Strand House has seating for approximately 250 guests on all levels and on Friday and Saturday evenings, the first floor transforms into a lounge called Strandbar with a DJ and dancing until 1 a.m.
The Strand House is located at 117 Manhattan Beach Blvd. in Manhattan Beach. Open daily from 5 p.m. to close, and 10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays for brunch service. Reservations are recommended. Call 310-545-7470. Street parking and city-run valet parking is available.
Photo Above By: Zoë Kors
All Other Photography By: Daniel Hennessy