It was a trip to Glendale's Costco a few years back that had us making the first of many impromptu stops at Mimi's Cafe for some cheap down home cooking. What I remember was that the food was better than expected with Mom enjoying her well seasoned meatloaf, as we enjoyed a great hamburger and Cobb Salad. Service was friendly and enthusiastic, prices were as low as one could imagine and the place was packed. The attentive manager even boxed some homemade muffins for my mom to enjoy with her morning coffee. It makes sense that the same group that created that famous chain, the Simmzy's, would pair with the chef from Em Bistro, Anne Conness, who helped to raise the bar on home cooking in the L.A. dining scene a few years back.
We tried out their new collaboration, Tin Roof Bistro in the Manhattan Beach Shopping Village on their first Saturday night a week ago and enjoyed our dinner quite a bit. The setting is a free standing bungalow like structure with an open air hacienda feel that features quite an impressive bar. On day five of this new operation the place was filled to capacity with the table next to us raving about their brasied short ribs with polenta, a spectacular looking hamburger and an impressive looking top sirloin.
The menu is varied but decisive with an interesting Butcher Block section featuring a kind of charcuterie offering including salami and prosciutto as well as nifty things like goat cheese and honey and, for a mere $1.50, some very tasty roasted bar nuts.
We started with a delicious bacon, gruyere and caramelized onion pizza for $12.50 that was an ambitious appetizer for two but took half home and enjoyed the rest for lunch the next day. We followed with a classic Caesar that was enough for two for $7.50 with a nice infusion of strong garlic. My friend remembering the roasted chicken from the chef's stint at Napa Valley Grille was quite happy with the version she's offering here accompanied with prosciutto and mashed potatoes for $19.25 while I really enjoyed the agnolotti with shrimp and crab in a well seasoned broth. We had to share a side order of that mascarpone polenta for $4.50 that took us back to a similar version at Zuni Cafe many moons ago.
The wine program is as familiar and surprising as the menu with an Angeline pinot noir for $7.50 and a Hunnicutt zinfandel for $15 both showing off nicely. Service was very attentive and accomplished with recommendations offered when asked and coffee refilled even though the hour was wearing late. We look forward to the dessert selection growing. With only two selections we enjoyed the homemade chocolate chip cookie with ice cream but with so much offered before we wanted more variety here as well.
Clearly Mimi's Cafe has grown up and the rather tony Manhattan Beach crowd seemd quite happy with the proceedings. As for the chef, my friend commented that not since Pizzeria Mozza have we dined in a restaurant where the chef was on the line when we arrived and as we were leaving two and a half hours later.
Tin Roof Bistro
3500 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266