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Restaurants & Bars 1

Christine's in Torrance (good time)

Griller141 | Nov 14, 200310:52 PM

Was at a function in PV Friday afternoon and, rather than fight the rush hour freeways decided to have dinner there. Arrived at 5:45 for a 6:15 reservation. Had made the reservation the day before but the hostess screwed it up and made it for the same day. We arrived and had no reservation and there were no tables available. When the hostess found our misdated reservation, she immediately assumed it was their fault (I can't actually swear that it was) and fell all over herself apologizing. Found a table for us after some shuffling but she noted that the table was also reserved for 7pm. She went to great lengths to tell us not to feel rushed, but of course we did anyway.
The service couldn't have been better and the rather cozy decor was welcome after a long day and with the temperatures dropping outside.
Wines were imaginatively selected and there were many by the glass selections with prices more reasonable than the bottle prices. Every wine we ordered (2 glasses and 1/2 bottle) was poured as a taste and we were given the option of changing after the taste - which we did twice. Had a Conn Creek 1999 Cab (bottle retail $28) for $11 per glass - huge pours. Saintsbury '01, $20 for a half bottle (retail for a bottle is $20).
Mushroom tart was fine, though the puff pastry underlining was a little limp. Roasted pear/blue cheese/pecan salad was also fine, though not spectacular.
Scallop entree was excellent - very fresh scallops with a savory white wine sauce with mininal butter and no cream.
The star of the show was the braised pork shank special - fall off the bone tender, taste unexpectedly similar to good beef sirloin; exquisite red wine sauce, the depth of which was remarkable, again with minimal butter - the essence of roast meat and red wine (Syrah?).
Desserts were servicable but not earthshaking.
The most remarkable thing about the place, though, was the intense sincerity of the staff. Despite the reservation screw-up, we were more comfortable at this place than at most less crowded places. Although we did not linger, we never felt rushed, and had no trouble being out by 7.
I will keep this on my short South Bay list whenever I'm in the area again.

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