Sea Level, the restaurant and lounge in the just-opened Shade Hotel in Redondo Beach is one of those places we wish we could keep to ourselves, so we could always score reservations and a table by the water. But such is the quandary of a reviewer.
For months locals have been hearing about the new R.B. Strand hotel — spearheaded by Mike Zislis, who created some of the best restaurants in the South Bay (The Strand House, Rock’ N Fish) — so anticipation was high for their opening. Much bigger than the Manhattan Beach Shade and it’s cafe Zinc, Sea Level, with it’s cozy couches and fire pits, along with the wood-topped tables, is RIGHT beside the Marina with killer views from any seat.
Executive Chef Aaron Robbins, who you may remember from O Bar Restaurant, calls the menu ‘California Coastal Cuisine’, which means a raw bar, fresh fish, and, of course, organic greens, but the Chef has put his own creative spin on the dishes. Take the lowly beet, which in his hands become this delicious roasted appetizer, drizzled with herbed goat cheese and sprinkled with pistachios.($11.) Or the starter Crispy Chicken ($14) with sesame honey dipping sauce, which is the lightest, crispest version we’ve ever had. Hopefully, it will be an entree soon.
And while the Sea Bass ($28) is exquisitely prepared, and the Citrus Cured Hamachi ($15) is addicting, it’s the Almond Wood Grilled Prime New York steak that keeps calling our name.($34)
Friends swear by the Lobster Mac & Cheese (fresh Maine lobster, white cheddar bechamel, herb and butter crumbs) for $19 and the Margarita pizza (Garlic roasted tomatoes, fresh basil , burrata) at $15 but you really can’t go wrong with any of the offerings.
And whatever you do, don’t skip dessert from pastry chef and Cupcake Wars winner, Stephanie Franz.
Did we mention Shade Hour (Happy Hour) which is the best deal in town?; 3-6 Monday through Friday with HALF OFF food and cocktails. The bar features top shelf liquor and over 20 craft and macro beers plus an extensive wine list.
Come for lunch with friends and stay for the sunset and dinner. Just don’t tell everyone, ok?