full review here: http://tinyurl.com/2pfrx6
A friend sent me an email asking if I had been to a new place in Torrance called Rain. 40 wines by the glass, small plates, organic/sustainable, even a waterfall. All of this AND in Torrance. OMG how could I have missed it? I was terribly embarrassed. So I couldn't even wait until tonight (fri) to go. I had to check it out that very night (thurs). I called, and found out they were open for 8 months (?!) and serve dinner until midnight. It is in the Marriott near the mall. So we grabbed two of our foodie friends and headed out. We didn't even get there until 9:30.
The first sign something was wrong was when all the cool interesting things on the online menu were missing. No kobe hotdog with blue cheese. No honeycomb with the cheese platter. No butter-roasted nuts. But at least they still had the yukon gold truffle fries!
None of us really wanted big dinners, so we thought we would graze. Tried a number of bar items, such as fish and chips, sliders, and, well, a plain hot dog. Oh, and a lobster pot pie. And we ordered a bottle of wine, a moderately price Turley Zin, "Juvenile" for about $60. The wine took forever to arrive, but when it did, we were pleased to see that when the waitress fetched it she looked for brands and did not pay much attention to the label. The Turley that arrived was the Estate, a far more expensive wine that was on their list for $105.
We enjoyed that while we, um, experienced the food. Each dish we ordered came with its own order of frenchfries. And of course we had also ordered truffle fries so that arrived as well. The entire table was covered in french fries. The fish was fairly moist within a nice crunchy batter. Not particularly british-tasting. The sliders were a half-step better than white castle. The hotdog was, well, a hot dog. Not much to report there. The "truffle" part of the fries eluded me. All of the fries on the table tasted the same to me, although some of them tasted a bit of cumin. And then there was the lobster pot pie. It basically was a brown bowl of flour-thickened goo that tasted of cheap cooking sherry. There were about three chunks of lobster kind of oozing around in the bowl, with a few small potatoes bopping about. Two pastry sticks laid across the top. (Presumably, this was the pot-pie part.) We all declared it inedible.
But we were enjoying the fries, and wanted to try our luck again with another bottle of Turley. Was it a mistake the first time? We reordered the same bottle, being careful to point it out on the menu. This time, I think we got the Dragon, a very hard wine to even find, and it was much more expensive, about $130 on their list. We ate more fries, shared gambling analogies, and I pointed out to my friends that there sure were a lot of William Selyem labels on the menu. So we decided to roll the dice. Ordered the cheapest one (Central Coast) at $85, and waited to see what we got. Well, we were dealt a full house because what arrived was the Westside Coast Road Neighbors at about $140. Amazing. At that point, we were filled with fries. But this was so much fun. We both told the waitress that we were staying at the hotel and we wanted to order bottles for the room. They got another William Seleym and we ordered another Turley. (imagine some suspenseful music about now) Another jackpot! They got the Sonoma Coast at around $95, and we got the Old Vines which went for about $90. We quickly paid the bill and ran out to the car, relishing our treasures. I checked the retail price of the Turley when I got home, and it cost less at the restaurant.
What a night. I can only wonder what their inventory database looks like.