This place just opened this week on Main St. across from Chef Hannes, making this spot a veritable culinary mecca by local standards. Anyway my wife and I gave it a shot last night.
First you are struck by how "open" the design of the place is. Huge window in front covers almost the entire face of the building. Large windows on each side, including between the inside and outside dining rooms. Finally the kitchen in back is on full view for diners, judge for yourself how you like that touch. Room for about 50 inside and 30 outside, outside looked very charming but it was a cool evening. The walls were decorated with bright color, simple photographs. The whole place had the very simple country, but not kitschy feel.
Service, as you would expect in a brand new restaurant's first Saturday, was a tad discombobulated but certainly eager and friendly. A woman who seemed like an owner welcomed us and twice asked if we were enjoying everything. On to the chow...
Menu had about 5 appetizers, 3 salads, 2 stews, 6 pastas (made on premesis), and 8 meat/fish entrees. As the name of the restaurant would indicate, they seem to be trying to bring an unfussy country style to our little burg. We had a baked brie with apples and walnuts for an appetizer. The bread all night seemed to be a little off. The bread with the brie was under-toasted. The bread on the table was too crunchy. So we just used the table bread with the Brie. Worked out perfectly.
Wine list had about 15 reds, 15 whites between 25-50 dollars. Also 8 wines by the glass. Some decent but not spectacular choices.
For an entree my wife has the Chicken/Pomegranate/Walnut stew, which was served over rice. She looooved it. I had the lasagna, which as promised, was unlike any I have ever had (just spent 30 years living in NYC). A compact brick, the lasagna was unbelievable tasty, with little morsels of meat, vegetable and perfectly cooked pasta in every bite. I purposely did not finish so I could have an amazing lunch today.
When I commented to the waitress how a number of items on the menu (pumpkin ravioli, butternut squash soup) seemed very seasonal, as in fall/wintery, she responded, "this is california, everything is always in season. Indeed...
Desserts were simple, we had the molten chocolate cake for 2. Unspectacular but solid.
Entrees were between 10-16 dollars, apps 6-9. I noticed other tables getting yummy looking dips (hummus, roasted onion/eggpant, and I think tzatziki) with triangles of pita. These looked fun for groups. Many of the dishes came with parmesan fries which I must try soon.
Overall we thoroughly enjoyed. If you are in the beach cities, please come and support our nascent fine dining culture in El Segundo. If you are a local, you have no excuse, get your butt down there for simple, yet elegant home cooked comfort food.
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