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Went with some friends during their soft opening. It’s located in the Hillside Village plaza where Restaurant Christine is, only further back. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to add that my dining companions are friends of the owner, but our meal was not comped. Apologies in advance for the poor quality of the photos and the missing dishes.
Did not drink, but friends enjoyed their cocktails immensely. One had the dirty martini, which came with pickled sea bream and a giant caperberry, and another had the “world on a string,” with bourbon and rye, which he enjoyed despite not being a whiskey guy.
There’s also an entire selection of negronis, which I am eager to try at some point.
Started off with three appetizers:
Lamb Meatballs – Light, nicely spiced, served on top of some kind of bean puree. These were the overwhelming favorite and the first to disappear.
Salumi – Came with 5 types of meats, which included salami, prosciutto, and coppa. I believe the server mentioned they were domestic and from some producer in Iowa that supplied a Batali restaurant the chef worked at, so I’m guessing La Quercia. Either way, the meats were quite good. Came with a small dish of olives, pickled vegetables, and a few small chunks of a nice, salty cheese that was probably Parmigiano Reggiano. Oh, and they’re very proud of their hand-cranked meat slicer – “no shortcuts.”
Whipped White Prosciutto – Euphemism for lardo. I’m guessing they thought something with the word lard in its name would be a hard sell for the beach body types, but it was delicious, spreadable, spiced fat served with two slices of crusty, toasted bread. Only wish it came with one more piece of bread so that little bit left in the ramekin didn’t have to go to waste.
They have a selection of crudos on the menu, too, which I am looking forward to trying in the future.
All their pasta is made in-house. Friends had the Margherita pizza and the squid ink pasta with scallops and cauliflower. Both said they enjoyed their food.
I had the ricotta gnudi with wild mushrooms and kale. Gnudi were light, fluffy and creamy – very good. A hit around the table, though that meant fewer gnudi for me. :(
Husband had the pappardelle with wild boar ragu. Sauce was nice and meaty, pasta al dente – classic and comforting.
We shared the gelato trio and the pumpkin cake, and while the gelato was just good (especially the “cool whip” flavor), the pumpkin cake was great. Not overly sweet, with chunks of roasted pumpkin (like acorn or kabocha). A nice way to end the meal.
Dinner for four of us with 2 drinks, a few bottles of water, 3 appetizers, 4 entrees, and 2 desserts set us back about $160ish, before tax and tip, which I thought was more than fair for the quality.
The atmosphere and décor - dark woods, dim lighting, an open kitchen done in white marble. Warmer atmosphere and service than some of the places in MB we usually end up at when we don’t want to trek all the way to the Westside or downtown. Server mentioned there will be live music, with the owner playing piano and singing some nights. (The owner is a South Bay local and performs big band/swing with his band at Hermosa Beach’s New Year’s Eve concert every year.)
All in all, a great new dining option that’s upscale and modern without being inaccessible – perfect for the neighborhood.
Lou’s on the Hill
24590 Hawthorne Blvd
Torrance, CA 90505
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