Vue is located on the top floor of the Holiday Inn in Long Beach, rather close to the Long Beach airport. You can’t miss it! It’s the cylindrical building right off the 405 freeway. I am here as a friend’s guest this evening just as the sun is setting into the horizon. It is swift as the dining room quickly becomes dark and candles are lit to create a lovely ambiance throughout.
The menu is rather extensive taking up both sides of a page, but we are told they are in the process of tightening the ship so to speak. Currently, there are a lot of items – which makes sense as they are trying to cater to both hotel guests as well as locals living in the neighborhood.
With the help of Executive Chef Thomas Vertl — who helped us select items for our dinner this evening — we were able to sit back, relax, while getting to know Chef a little better.
Appetizers begin with Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers ($10) which are pretty good. The poppers are crispy on the outside and hold up well. They are not greasy, possessing a great crunch, while the inside reveals a gooey cheesy filling. The cilantro ranch dip is bright and works great with the popper.
Crispy Mac n Cheese Bites ($9) are again beautifully textured with a creamy center and crispy exterior. The creamy Sriracha dip offers a hint of spice, but not overwhelming.
We tried two of the four sliders on the menu. Braised Short Rib Sliders ($10) are assembled between a pretzel roll with fire roasted red peppers, onion, and Swiss cheese. The short rib is a little dry, but I loved the pretzel roll which Chef Thomas reveals is from Rockenwagner Bakery in LA.
The Chicken Parmesan Sliders ($11) are crispy breaded chicken fillet sandwiched between a mini ciabatta with tomato aioli, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses. This was absolutely delicious. I liked how there is enough cheese to enhance the sandwich but not too much to overwhelm it. The chicken is nicely seasoned and the meat to bun ratio perfect!
As the evening progresses, we are thoroughly enjoying conversation with Chef Thomas, which ranges from dining around the world, kids and more.
The entrées arrive, and I am rather impressed by Braised Lamb Shank ($32) which is tender, and pulls away from the bone easily. I love the sautéed cherry tomatoes, which add a touch of acid to the rich demi glace which I want more of. The accompanying potato parmesan gratin is delicious as well.
Pan Seared Salmon ($26) is a solid choice for pescatarians or those looking for a lighter option. The almond romesco is fantastic, as are the baked baby potatoes. Mizuna and radicchio add a touch of bitterness, balancing out the entire dish perfectly in my mouth.
I am not a fan of mac n cheese. I do not like excessive heavy cream or heavy cheese. I also abhor goopey thick, mushy anything. Therefore, the Lobster Mac n Cheese ($18) here is an absolute delight. The pasta is delicate, tossed in Cheddar cream, and caramelized shallots. The bread crumbs are crunchy, adding a beautiful textural contrast. However, the biggest surprise are the large chunks of sublime Maine lobster that’s dotted throughout. One of my biggest pet peeves is a mac n cheese with tiny specks of lobster throughout and a massive amount of cheese to compensate. This version can only be described as one of my favorite lobster mac n cheeses of all time.
We walked into Vue with no expectations, and walked away pleasantly surprised by a satisfying meal. We hope to come back again after a new menu has been implemented. In the meantime, you can enjoy live music at Vue on Friday and Saturday nights from 5pm to 9pm.
at Holiday Inn Long Beach
2640 N Lakewood Blvd
Long Beach, CA 90815