Blue Salt Fish Grill News & Articles

EASY READER ARTICLE Food’s fine and prices in line at eight new restaurants If you go by the simple data on openings and closings, 2010 wasn’t bad. Slightly fewer restaurants debuted than in previous years, but there wasn’t as much of a drop as I expected in the sour business climate. But there was a change in the market. The year saw the closing of more expensive places such as Il Bocaccio, Upper Manhattan, Le Saint Raphael, and Café Catalina. The newcomers generally offered meals at modest prices. There were exceptions, of course. Some owners obviously believe the economy will turn around soon and have planned for a return of the big spenders. As it happens, the two most expensive newcomers didn’t make my list of the best of the year, one on the basis of general inconsistency and the other because they offer mediocre food with a heaping portion of hip club attitude. Neither would have made the cut even if they charged half as much. As always when I’m evaluating new businesses, I have to take into account that the employees haven’t had time to learn everything about their new job and their co-workers, so allowances are made for slight hiccups in service. I always wait at least a month before visiting to give restaurants time to work things out, but even so I’ve had some horrendous experiences. One waitress who was dealing with a stream of incorrect orders shared her low opinion of the chef with diners. At other establishments, servers seemed surprised by the idea that they should know something about the dishes on the menu, rather than merely taking orders. Standards of service in the South Bay are still below those of Los Angeles, and the places that have staff with a professional attitude are to be applauded. The restaurants that opened in 2010 continued the trend from 2009, with gastropubs and Americana dominating, followed by Japanese cuisine. Four izakaya restaurants opened locally and three made my list. That style of Japanese dining looks well established in the area. Redondo Beach had by far the most openings, with Manhattan Beach unusually quiet. That ratio is likely to reverse this year, with four new openings announced and three other restaurants for sale or in the process of changing ownership. Whatever those new businesses become, they might take some inspiration from the top eight of this year, who are doing the important things right already. As always, it was difficult to create a list of the best because the overall standard was so high. Waterman’s in Hermosa and Rock & Brews in El Segundo both were in consideration because they elevate bar food to new heights, but I had decided to hold the list to eight this year and regretfully left them out. You can see the reviews of both establishments on our website. That said, following are my picks for the best new restaurants of 2010, in alphabetical order. Blue Salt Fish Grill gets it right

The Blue Salt Fish Grill’s location has been home to three restaurants in as many years, but if any operation can break the curse, this is it. Blue Salt offers diners an array of choices. You select the type of fresh fish you want, which sauce or seasoning you’d like on it, and which of an array of sides you’d like with it. They grill it up and serve it to your table, and you get exactly the meal you want. After some problems with consistency early on they have found their groove, and the sides and salads are now as good as the seafood. Their habit of offering free tastes of ceviche to everyone in the restaurant has made many friends, and they are as personal and friendly as you could ask for in a

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quick-service restaurant.

2515 Artesia Blvd, Redondo Beach. (424) 247-7414