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Restaurants & Bars 4

Biggs in Long Beach---another take

Christine | Feb 11, 200610:36 AM

My turn to see what all the excitement is about at this "small-plates" restaurant in Belmont Shores. Three of us went for lunch yesterday.

At noon no one else was in there, though I imagine it's busy in the evenings. Don't look for a satisfying meal here if you're on a budget. I didn't see the bill, but I believe it was about $160 before tip. I suspect most of the Cal State Long Beach crowd that populate 2nd Street on the weekend would stop in for a bite or two and eat the rest of their meal at one of the pizza places.

A couple sodas and a couple mojitos to start. We ordered a couple plates to start, and added on as we gauged the portions. The very lovely and helpful server was also making the drinks; very delicious. The mojitos may have been $12, can't remember, so you may not be slamming too many down.

Peeled shrimp with aioli- eight large and tasty shrimp with a dollop of aioli.

Cheese plate- three cheeses, two of them soft, one semi-hard, all cow's milk, not enough variety.

Artisinal olives- generous serving of three types of olives, though most were the type of green olives you see everywhere. The olives served as you are seated, with some almonds in a Moroccan-flavored spice mix, are better.

Burrata with beets- selection of three types of perfectly cooked beets with a blob of tasty burrata in the center of the plate. Enough for about a tablespoon of burrata each.

Wild mushrooms in creamy polenta- mushrooms were good but the plate is drenched in a sauce that not only makes the polenta watery, but completely masks the corny flavor.

Prociutto with pecorino and figs- three largish slices of paper-thin meat drizzled with balsamic and fig halves on a bed of cantalope and sliced apples (or Asian pears, I didn't try one).

Scallops with fingerling potatoes- best dish of the lot; the scallops were very tasty. All three of them. Served in a sizzling cast-iron pan. Very pricey.

Jidori chicken- did it taste like it was massaged? I don't know. Nice preparation, but once we got this dish, it occured to the group that the kitchen was using a very heavy hand with the salt. That was the dominant flavor of this dish.

Frites- we were still hungry and by 1:00 another party had come in and we saw this go to their table. This is a large portion of crispy fries. Sadly, they were so salty, and by this time I was overdosed, that I couldn't eat but a couple.

Final verdict: a lot of money for a lunch that was good but not great. Service was perfect ('course we were the only ones in there for most of our meal). Way too much salt on most of the food. I'm not a big Cobras & Matadors enthusiast, but if they put the Beverly branch next door to Biggs, I believe C&M would take the business.

Our meals at Bistro K cost less (factoring in the cost of the mojitos at Biggs) and were much, much more delicious.

I'd love to see Biggs work out a menu that retains the small-plate concept but takes the price point a little lower. Rents aren't cheap on 2nd Street, but you don't want an empty room at lunch time on a Friday. I don't think I'd go again unless the menu changed dramatically.

(562) 434-9501 - 4901 E 2nd St, Long Beach

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