Revamped Steak + Whiskey Showcases Food & Cocktails
The high-end Hermosa Beach restaurant, Steak + Whiskey, is now S+W, and it introduced itself to the South Bay on a warm fall evening in late October with an open house featuring bites from its menu, cheeses and cold meats, and three featured cocktails from the bar.
Despite the LA Dodgers playing their first World Series game in 29 years, some 50 people showed up through the two-hour event to sample items from the appetizer menu and select cocktails from the bar.
Served were items from the restaurant’s Happy Hour – which goes until 7 p.m., with $5 drinks and wine so put this place on your HH radar – and three drinks from its cocktails menu.
This small spot, almost kind of hidden as you walk on the north side of Pier Ave., just a block up from Pier Plaza, has nice and classy decor with wood tables and brick walls. As I said, it’s small; there’s only about 10 booths and tables. The bar area seats about six people.
Speaking of the bar, the drink I had was the cleverly-named Mint to Be, made with Bulleit bourbon, ginger, root, mint and lemon. It was served in a glass about 80% the size of the Fire Chiefs at Old Tony’s. I had three; two were kind of light and almost too “spritzy” in taste but one had a bit more bourbon (thanks bartender!) and was excellent.
My friends, who are vodka drinkers (I am not) raved about the La Grand Sage (Ketel One, grapefruit, sage, routin blanc and sparkling water). Also featured was the Jonny and the Giant Peach, with Jonny Walker Black, peach liquor and tangerine-infused sparkling water.
Being a rum guy, I would have liked to have tried the DK Punch, which is $27 on the regular menu (and serves “2-3” it states); it’s made of rum, cognac, pineapple, all spice and banana. The best-named drink is the Sex For Breakfast with rye, apple brandy, benedictine and smoked maple.
So the drinks are good and creative and the food is very good, with a couple of items approaching outstanding. It’s kind of hard to fully judge when the portions are almost microscopic (but hey, they were complimentary on this night!) but here’s what really stood out:
• Dry Aged Beef Sliders. Best thing on the HH menu. They have slab bacon, blue cheese and something called onion jam.
• Steak Tartare.
• Smoked Meatballs. The pine nuts put them over the top. They are served over a small scoop of polenta, a perfect compliment to the sauce.
• Chicken Wings. Sounds basic but they are not; the sauce is almost like a BBQ sauce. Excellent.
• Lobster Mac + Cheese. They include truffle oil; nice.
• Kumai Oysters. They have a kick to ’em so have your drink handy.
• Roasted Beet Salad. Pretty good (I pushed aside the beets). Personally I would prefer to see it with an olive oil dressing as opposed to the vinaigrette but that’s probably just me. Ever since I first went to the Greek Islands, I only use olive oil on my salads.
• Cake Pops. “Death by chocolate” according to the menu. It looks like a lollipop but since I don’t eat sweets I can’t tell you what they taste like, sorry!
While there, I looked at the full menu and it still has steaks. And expensive ones, $44-$81 expensive. But the rest of the menu is quite reasonable with a pan-seared halibut and roasted salmon for $22 and a “I had better play a lot of beach volleyball the next day” bacon-wrapped meatloaf with “pot-licker gravy” for $18.
Overall, I was impressed. Impressed with the food, the drinks and the overall “you’re in a nice place but you’re also at the beach” mentality of the servers.