Three months ago, I visit Restauration in Long Beach for lunch. It is a delightful spot and one which many of my friends are dying to visit. Therefore, on this particular evening, my friends and I are at Restauration, this time to celebrate a couple of birthdays.
We are so lucky to be seated on the back patio, however, it is a shame the beauty of the garden is not visible in the dark. However, the hustle and bustle of the packed restaurant brings forth a certain kind of energy which staged the course of the evening — my friends do not know any better as they’ve never visited during the day.
We begin with Raspberry Hibiscus Tea Sangria ($7), a refreshing fruity concoction which is light so even those who do not drink will find it pleasant.
The menu is different to my visit during lunch, although some of the dishes are the same. The only item we eat tonight which I have eaten before is Onion Rings ($6). The plate is generous and the beer battered onions are gluttonous. There are three dips: buttermilk dill, mustard and ketchup.
Butternut Squash Tortellini ($9) are little pockets of deliciousness welcoming the fall season. They’re not heavy, and the little dices of roasted butternut squash provides a hint of sweetness to the slight bitterness of the Brussels sprouts. We love the autumnal feel of this dish with sage, pumpkin seed, and mascarpone.
I will never stray away from ordering clams when they’re on the menu. Therefore, Clams + Chorizo ($12) catches my eye almost immediately. This is different to anything I’ve eaten before because the chorizo braised pulled pork dominates the dish. Roasted pepper, fingerling potato discs, paprika, and a handful of Manila clams combine together for a very hearty and robust dish. However, I would have liked more clams and less accoutrements simply because the name suggests that and I’ve created an expectation in my mind when ordering.
I am not a fan of short rib, so Short Rib & Ricotta Gnocchi ($18) is not a dish I will order, however, my friends are eyeing it. I enjoy the flavors, but want more of the soft gnocchi. The combination of kale, herbs, parmigiano reggiano and tomato jus combine together for good flavor composition, so if you like short rib, this is an excellent option.
Channel Island Cioppino ($17) is a generous bowl of shrimp, clams, white fish, peppers in a white wine tomato broth. It resembles the clams we eat earlier, but it tastes different — there is a hint of cumin in this. We dip the grilled bread into the hearty sauce and even spoon the remainder, so not to waste it.
However, it is the Oregon Black Cod ($19) which blows us all away. The fish is moist and tender, the cremini mushroom risotto creamy and luscious. The menu says balsamic glaze but it must have been a smidgen as I am not able to detect any in the mouthfuls I eat. This is a dish I want to come back for!
Our meal ends with two desserts. Apple Crisp ($8) is actually more of a crumble than a crisp. I am expecting a tart of sorts, but it is a baked item with Granny Smith apples, topped with a brown sugar oat crumble. The vanilla ice cream is a great accompaniment to the warm apples and crispy crumble.
The other dessert is Strawberry Shortcake ($7) and I actually like it a lot. Using a sweet cream biscuit instead of cake means that portion is crispy, giving the whole dish a great textural contrast. Macerated strawberries are sweet and tart, and the addition of fresh whipped cream makes it really light.
Our meal tonight reconfirms that Restauration is here to stay. The food is stellar, and even though the restaurant is packed on this evening, service is attentive and friendly.
2708 E 4th St
Long Beach, CA 90814