Today is: Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Baleen Restaurant Review
Baleen is the signature restaurant of Noble House Hotels & Resorts. The newly
refurbished restaurant located at The Portofino Hotel & Yacht Club will
welcome guests with a grand circular driveway and custom water feature.
Baleen restaurant gives you stylish comfort food, with a bar that is simply one
of Redondo Beach’s best cocktail bars. They make staying in something to celebrate.
Our dinner at Baleen was absolutely splendid, with its new dinner patio overlooking the marina, dramatic outdoor drapery and fire pit. Inside, Baleen will incorporate the brand’s monkey motif, balanced with dark wood flooring and finishes throughout. The fully remodeled upstairs bar offers a cosmopolitan-lounge vibe, with stylish fireside sofas and chairs. This is the place to sea and be seen!
Long Island Ice Tea
Veuve Clicquot Champagne
Seated in subdued elegance that seemed modernly formal we began to browse the wine
list. We got no farther than the second entry when we ordered two half glasses of
Veuve Clicquot “Yellow Label,” which seemed the perfect way to begin the evening.
Baleen's wine list offers a rare and ideal opportunity to order select wines by the
half glass as well as the glass, allowing diners not only to taste a small amount
of a new or unfamiliar wine, but also to taste multiple wines over the course of
Chef Brian Drosanos
Our server Joe
Chef Brian Drosanos made our dining experience certainly be one of the best our
hearts could desire. The word “fresh” conjures up a variety of traits, almost all
of which apply to Baleen’s restaurant. Yet, this place also describes the restaurant’s
smart new approach to dining, featuring a modern menu filled with creative dishes.
After our server, Joe, offered enthusiastic recommendations, we selected “Small
Plates” to try. Chef Drosano’s menu offers plenty of small plates that
are perfectly proportioned for the half glass.
Hot Japanese Saku Stone (Chef's Combo)
We started with the “Hot Stone”; the Hot Japanese Saku Stone “Sashimi”; with 3 choices
of the Chef’s Combo Three Ounce Market. An eastern inspired dipping sauce, it consisted
of the chef’s selection of sashimi seared table side, accompanied
by a selection of dipping sauces. I was expecting a grand hibachi-esque production
and was pleasantly surprised when Joe delivered an elegant and manageable single
plate. Thin slivers of filet mignon, chicken and scallop lay in neat rows, accompanied
by cucumber, mango, and jicama slaw, and a plump, flat, and jet-black stone in a
bowl of sea salt. We were told the stone would stay hot for about 5 minutes and
quickly set to work draping slices of sashimi on the stone while
the sound of searing
meat filled the air.
After flipping each piece, we lifted the graceful sashimi from
the stone and set to work sampling each meat with each of the 3 sauces, thoughtfully
presented in order of increasing spiciness. I found no single favorite; rather,
each sauce seemed
perfectly suited to a different fish. Light, barely-tart citrus
ponzu offered a
perfect compliment to scallop; creamy smoked chipotle aioli partnered
best with the meat; and delicately complex jalapeño lime
sauce seemed best suited
chicken, we thoroughly
enjoyed each delicious and flavorful bites.
Finishing the last of our champagne, we studied the intriguing wine list, contemplating
where to head next. The list seemed not only accessible but playful, as if encouraging
diners to have fun with their decision. Wines were divided into categories not only
by grape but by characteristic, with such endearing categories as “Lush, and Unsauvignon
Blanc-like” Sauvignon Blancs, and “Lightly Buttered Toast” Chardonnays. We opted
for section of the wines by the glass, and could not have been more pleased with
the Pinot Noir Sanford from Santa Ana hills –2004.
Crab Cake Tempura
The appetizers keep coming, and we also tasted the Crab Cake Tempura, also a superb
choice; with mango citrus salad and ginger-sweet and sour. The cake was made with
succulent pieces of crab and simply perfect, we enjoyed it a lot.
Ahi Tuna Tartar with Quail Egg
Chef Drosanos sent us another of his specialties the Ahi Tuna Tartar with Quail
Egg “One Eyed Susan” with Cucumber and Chile Oil. Again, another choice that you
can’t go wrong. The Tuna was fresh and the taste was amazing, this was one of
the best Tuna appetizers we had lately.
Chilled Lobster and Prawn Salad
Apple Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Salad
The Chilled Lobster and Prawn Salad was simply one of those appetizers you can’t
miss, with Dill and Horseradish on Toasted Brioche with Tobiko Caviar, such a great
and fresh start. Another salad you can’t miss is the BLT Salad; a Braised Apple
Wood Smoked Bacon with Marinated Tomatoes and Avocado, one of a kind! The bacon
taste is superb; you must have this salad, if you love bacon.
Classic Clam Chowder
As far as soup, you must try their Classic Clam Chowder with apple smoked
bacon and littleneck clams and potato, one of the best chowders in town.
Vanilla Poached New Zealand Grouper
The wines were to pair with our two dramatically different entrées: The Vanilla
Poached New Zealand Grouper with Forbidden Black Rice and Mango Salsa Fresca and
the Copper Ridge Farm Filet with Potato Gratin, Roasted Onions and
Cognac-Morel Mushroom Sauce.
Copper Ridge Farm Filet with Potato Gratin
Both dishes were served in sweeping bowls with perfectly cooked fish sitting
atop a gentle bed of potatoes, although the similarities ended there.
The Grouper was slightly crisp on the outside with a firm yet gentle flesh that
gracefully pulled apart. The fish itself was tender with a hint of firmness, infused
with subtle flavor from the slow sous vide preparation. The black rice surprisingly
tasted like a risotto, showcasing the actual flavor of the mango salsa in a refreshing
departure from the traditional, oft-overwhelming flavor of butter or cream.
One bite proved the savoriest moment of the meal, the meat was tender and deliciously
prepared, the golden potatoes were creamy and flavorful, busting with a sweetness
that hinted of honey and the morel mushroom sauce.
Dessert Trio (Lava Muffin, Coffee Gelato, Bailey’s Hot Chocolate)
After a meal that traversed a wide range of flavors and textures incorporating bold,
flavorful ingredients, we felt dessert might pale in comparison; never had we felt
so delighted to be so wrong. Chef Drosanos brought us the Dessert Trio Chocolate-
Dark Chocolate Lava Muffin, Coffee Gelato and Bailey’s Hot Chocolate. Tasting, a
brilliant presentation of miniature versions of 3 different chocolate offerings,
all prepared in house. The dish evoked childish wonderment, our eyes growing wide
at the array of delights in front of us. The tasting took us on a wild journey where
the simple and the complex combined in a dizzying array of flavors. The dish
offered a stunning conclusion that touched on every taste, from tart to
sweet, savory and even salty, we were in heaven.
Smiling and content, we put down our forks on the table, wondering when we would
have the chance to repeat this sensuous experience. There was not a sliver of doubt
in either of our minds that we would return to Portofino and to dine at Baleen again.
We would return for ourselves—to try the Crispy Calamari and the Soy Glazed Artic
Char, or the Baleen Cioppino, that had looked so enticing; for our friends—to share
the unique experience of searing sashimi on a hot stone and to emphatically recommend
the dessert platter; and for our curiosity—to see what Chef Drosanos new menu will
be when the season will change. But perhaps most importantly, we would return for
Chef’s enthusiasm and approach for his wonderful menu.
Baleen Patio Area
In an industry where restaurants are more often than not focused on profitability
and the bottom line, it is refreshing to find a place so committed to exquisite
produce, artisanal products, and in-house preparations that ensure that everything
is ultimately, well, fresh! Savor the delicious cuisine of Baleen Los Angeles where
you will receive a $50 dining credit. Stay two nights and receive a $100 dining
Soak up the twinkling lights of King Harbor Marina and sample some of
the best steak and seafood in the area.
Steak and Eggs
Do not miss breakfast at Baleen, we truly loved ours. Their breakfast menu is incredible,
with a variety of delicious dishes such as pancakes, burritos, fresh
eggs any style, and chef’s omelet with all you can imagine sides ala carte.
Our choice was the Baleen Crab Benedict and the
Steak and Eggs, all deliciously
prepared and the service is superb,
not talking about the Marina view that is to
For map and location click Here!
For more information please visit their website at www.hotelportofino.com
Article By: Mary Adams
Photos By: Chris Marx
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