Today is: Saturday, August 19, 2017






Baleen Restaurant Review



Baleen Restaurant, nationally renowned for its serious food and whimsical mood, Baleen brings an eccentric fine dining experience to The Portofino. A grand circular driveway and custom water feature frame the entrance, while chandelier-hanging monkeys join with a marina and firepit backdrop to set the interior tone. And Baleen’s new offerings are just as eclectic as the restaurant’s design. Wonderful Wednesday wine tastings (second Wednesday of June, July & August) will feature a different growing region (New Zealand, Chile, Sonoma Coast) each month and include light appetizers, Superlative wine dinners, held the last Wednesday of each month, take
the dining decadence one step further, and include seasonally fresh pairings and
the sommelier’s finest selections from the cellar. Finally, in a journey back to
the hotel’s early roots, Sundays will host traditional and tasty crawfish
boils, with all-you-can-eat crawfish and $3 beers.

   
   

Ever-varying culinary art and theatre, with front row seats to the Pacific. That’s the Baleen experience. The menu includes all tastes with beef, chicken, and vegetarian options, making a trip to this room ideal for private parties, a relaxing, elegant
dinner, or a social happy hour spent at their full bar and mini lounge.

 

Stepping inside is a distinctive experience, like arriving at an underwater sanctuary away from the chaos of the Redondo Beach’s busiest streets. The room glows
with soothing hues of aqua and coral, like seawater reflecting off the room’s interior surfaces. A bar flows along the length of the restaurant, a social space where
guests will enjoy a marvelous marina view. Their bar provides intimate lounge
space at the rear of the restaurant perfect for indulging in their daily happy
hour specials. The bar provides an appealing backdrop to remind diners of
the many treasures hidden in the ocean’s depths to be discovered. 

 
Ginger Mandrin Cosmo                              Long Island Ice Tea     

New Executive Chef Daniel Roberts 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.



The genius of this restaurant’s new Executive Chef Daniel Roberts’ vision is precisely in its simplicity: Baleen Restaurant offers patrons an eclectic arrangement of dishes intended to cater to multiple tastes, and a sophisticated space to enjoy them in. In
an effort to combat the status quo of an existing dining scene that often times
commits diners to a confined range of cuisine types and prices, Baleen’s
menu offers everything from Seafood classics to meat, and sandwiches
all represented on the menu. And a good look around the dining
room also offers hints into this restaurant’s diverse range.

The dining space’s décor is a mastery of refined style and whimsical imagination. The room glows with soothing hues of aqua and coral, like seawater reflecting off the room’s interior surfaces. A bar flows along the length of the restaurant, a social
space where guests will enjoy a marvelous marina view. Their bar provides
intimate lounge space at the rear of the restaurant perfect for indulging in
their daily happy hour specials. The bar provides an appealing
backdrop to remind diners of the many treasures hidden in
the ocean’s depths to be discovered.
 
 

New Executive Chef Daniel Roberts 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.

This juxtaposition of rich wood tones, fine table ware, and
flamboyant light fixtures is striking, and does a fine job of
complementing a similarly eclectic menu.

Our tour guide through the menu this evening was the man himself, Executive Chef Daniel Roberts. He presented us with a tasting sampling of his most popular dishes, and we enjoyed every minute of this culinary walkabout. We were also guided
by a talented and charming sommelier and Baleen General Manager
Shanon Ferguson who was a master in guiding us and pairing
this amazing meal with the most magnificent wines.


Seared Ahi with Watermelon Carpaccio

To begin, we were served the Seared Ahi with Watermelon Carpaccio, layered
with yozu ponzu gelatina and micro cilantro. The Ahi supported my view that
anything served in a watermelon is bound to be memorable, the seemingly
petite starter contained a punch of flavor, freshness, and contrasting textures.
The Ahi was moist, plump, and invigoratingly cold. We truly enjoyed, the
wine served with this first dish which was the Graham Beck Brut
Rose from South Africa, it was a perfect combination.

Asian Pear and Arugula Salad

Next we tried a delicious salad; the Asian Pear and Arugula, the coolness of
the arugula, and the crisp aromatics of the candied walnut and gorgonzola
flavors contrasted the tanginess of the caramelized shallot vinaigrette, and
brought it all to life. Diners may be tempted to shoot this salad back like
most others, but I recommend nursing it a while to savor every bit of its
complexity, also a wonderful wine was paired with this salad; the
D’Arenberg Viognier/ Marsanne, a French delicate
wine that was truly perfect for this dish.


Jumpo Pan Seared Scallop

The next dish to be devoured was the Jumpo Pan Seared Scallop. Unlike
many others Scallop dishes, the flavors in this dish was slightly sweet. A hint of
coconut jalapeno foam peaked out, and paired nicely with the accompanying
shiitake and sweet corn relish, sake and dried cherry infusion, this dish was
paired with an aromatic and perfect Summerland Pinot Noir.


Togarashi Seared Ahi with sweet forbidden Black Rice

The line between appetizer and entrée was blurred when the fish entrée was placed
before us. The instant the fish touched the table, our senses were greeted by the
amazing vibrancy of the Togarashi Seared Ahi, sweet forbidden Black Rice, Sake
Sauteed Babybok Choy And Broccolini, Carrot Ginger Vinaigrette. The moist and
silky smooth Ahi was seared with a symphonic trinity of flavors and aroma. The
veggies’ energizing presence married nicely with the Ahi, and the result was an
intoxicatingly seductive bite. The fish coated the tongue with the mild and sweet
wine that was paired with this course, the Summerland Pinot Noir, which offered
the essence of spice without the burn. Soon enough, this dish was emptied, and
we were smiling. All these elements not only stood out well individually,
but coupled nicely to produce a thoughtful and creative dish.


Soy Braised Short Rib with Truffle Asaigo Potato Puree

The next dish granted us a glimpse of Chef Roberts’ more creative side; the Ginger and Sweet Soy Braised Short Rib with Truffle Asaigo Potato Puree, Crisp Onion Stack, accompanied by Sequal Syarh. The rib’s brilliance of execution came from other elements that were used to assemble a truly rewarding bite. I loved the Crisp Onions graced on the plate, and served a much greater purpose than being purely decorative, we experienced the crisp freshness of the onions complemented by the truffle potato pureer’s flavor. Also, the stunning fragrance of the truffle extracted
the savory flavor of the short rib, and lightened the heartiness of the dish. This
dish draws in all the senses, and keeps us entertained. The only pang of
disappointment came when we realized the plate was empty.
 

Strawberry Bliss

To end our magnificent tasting with a gold key, we sampled the Strawberry
Bliss. DiSaronno Mascarpone filled strawberries, light and perfect to be
sampled with the most sweet and delicate sake; Karan – Coy,
could not be a better combination.

At last, hungry patrons of all culinary persuasions may join at one table for a
satisfying meal. Meat lovers rejoice; seekers of fine seafood fare sing
with joy. Executive Chef Daniel Roberts and the entire staff at
Baleen are eager to please your palate.       

Special thanks to Executive Chef Daniel Roberts for your sweet invitation.


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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