If you’re looking for a new scene that’s vibrant and exciting but not the same old LA crowd, get down to Sea Level. This happening restaurant and bar, adjacent to The Shade Hotel Redondo Beach, has excellent cuisine, spectacular views and a hip, cool, and comfortable atmosphere.
It’s definitely not a quiet romantic getaway, but for those who like it a little loud, this place has electric energy, with a lively crowd, and a wall of plasma TVs across the bar for even more for stimulation, if the conversation around you is not enough.
The friendly wait staff is incredibly attentive, with no fewer than four people checking in on our table to make sure everything was superb after our food arrived.
Yeah, but how’s the food?
Every menu item we tasted was outstanding. The generously portioned beet salad with goat cheese and pesto had an abundance of multicolored beets and was bursting with flavor.
Following the salad, we sampled a couple delicious plates from the raw bar. The Citrus Cured Hamachi with lime, yuzu kosho vinaigrette, marinated Persian cucumber and puffed wild rice was exquisite. Likewise, the Spicy Tuna on crispy rice was delightful, with ginger soy, wasabi, avocado and shaved jalapeno.
It was a chilly night, so we ordered a hearty seasonal butternut squash, which was deliciously infused with nutmeg and a dollop of creme fraiche. We also indulged in the hand cut fries which were crusty with sea salt and satisfyingly crunchy.
Looks as good as it tastes
As a believer in “presentation is everything,” the chef did not disappoint with his artistic talents. All of the plates were adorned with deliciously decorative swirls, splashes, crumbles and streaks of sauces, worthy of framing.
We had planned on ordering entrées, but the soup, salad and sushi were more than enough for a meal, and we wanted to save room for dessert. We were glad we did.
We finished off this fine meal with one of the most decadent chocolate desserts I have ever laid fork into, a Black Bottom Chocolate Pot De Crème, with cocoa cake, almond toffee, chocolate streusel, and fleur de sel. It was basically a layer of moose over a chocolate cake sprinkled with sea salt and sliced almonds and adorned with thin slab of brittle served in a terrarium.
After such a scrumptious dinner at Sea Level, we came up for air, or rather went out for air, to have drinks by the water, warmed by the flames of a fire pit, as we watched the lights of the boats in the harbor drift by. A perfect meal of Californai cuisine, a quintessentially LA experience, without the LA.