The Strand House to Sow Seeds of Change in The South Bay
Nice, it looks like The L.A. Times has been reading its Grub Street! Today, the paper fills in some details on The Strand House, that forthcoming Manhattan Beach restaurant we spotted back in May that counts Neal Fraser as the consulting chef and former Gjelina chef Travis Lorton as chef de cuisine. The paper is cruising through the South Bay today, wondering why the hell all these well-regarded chefs have come flocking to this side of town. Too bad they didn't make it to Standing Room. In any case, what do they have to say about The Strand House?
No nearby businesses admit to feeling crowded by The Zsislis Group, which owns Shade Hotel up the block and two restaurants right across the street from The Strand House, the new project taking over shuttered Beaches (which was just about as sad as the movie, but for entirely different reasons). Maybe this is because all nearby businesses seem to be owned by The Zsislis Group.
Anyway, company head Mike Zislis tells The Times his intention is to bring a touch of the Westside to the South Bay, by which we think means Santa Monica and not Lennox. Regardless, pretty catchy! He notes that his Rock'n Fish draws all types of Westerners and now he wants to catch a finer cream off of that crop. Zislis plans to keep the subterranean dance-floor (aw dude, it gets hot down there) as well as a wine cellar, and two patios facing the ocean. This is a four-story restaurant, but unfortunately, the meandering story doesn't concentrate on the oyster bar mezzanine or second story dining room we saw early plans for.
But Fraser is indeed the man on the menu and for that, South Bay residents already feel grateful. The currently Graceless Grace chef will work out a New American menu that he says "won't be as rustic as [David LeFevre's nearby] M.B. Post" and acknowledges that this isolated section of the city is "primed for more than they have."
The article acknowledges that The Strand House could be a vital addition to a flourishing South Bay scene of better chefs and restaurants when it opens this August. There's a common thread of altruism here, rather than the motivation of dollar signs, as various parties weigh in on raising the bar for the region's dodgy dining scene. Hopefully, some of the food deserts in between The Westside and South Bay get a little of this kind of love too.