Today is: Monday, July 22, 2024

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.

Front Entrance                                               Bar Area

Bar Area                                                    Interior

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 a meal.

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 to the 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 credit.
Soak up the twinkling lights of King Harbor Marina and sample some of
the best steak and seafood in the area.

Steak and Eggs                                        Crab Benedict

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 die for.

For map and location click Here!

For more information please visit their website at

Article By: Mary Adams
Photos By: Chris Marx

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