The South Bay has become a hub for innovative, appetizing, aesthetically striking dining concepts and home to those bright, shiny, talented individuals that mix things up and revitalize our day-to-day culinary experiences.
I was recently invited to Circa for a preview of their new Sunday Suppers menu.
Located in Manhattan Beach in the space previously occupied by Mucho Ultima Mexicana, Circa is a collaboration between owner Michael Zislis, Executive Beverage Directors Julian Cox and Josh Goldman, with Executive Chef Bryon Freeze and operating partner Luis Villaneda.
The space, designed by Larry Drasin of Drasin Design, Inc. is vintage industrial with warm, casual interiors offering a number of classic accents, and features a prominent lounge area with Chesterfield leather sofas, exposed brick walls and moveable doors that, when opened, fill the space with refreshing ocean air. For the late-night crowd, the space transforms into a cozy lounge with music and is open until 2 a.m. on the weekends.
The concept is speak-easy chic – from the décor, to the hand-crafted, prohibition-era cocktails made from small batch spirits. Ambience is an integral part of any dining experience and Circa has it in spades.
Opened in February, Circa was initially closed on Sunday and Monday, but Chef Bryon found himself strolling around the neighborhood on Sunday evenings, checking out the dining options and believed there was room for an alternative dining experience.
Sunday evening at Circa is now devoted to the Sunday Supper. A tried and true favorite – don’t we all remember Sunday dinner around the dining room table with our extended families? – Chef Bryon is resurrecting a traditional pastime with a fresh take on his favorite meals.
There is no extensive menu to peruse – just the three-course meal at a set price. The suppers are served family style on large platters with serving utensils. It’s like going to your grandmother’s or your favorite aunt’s house and sitting down to share a comforting, communal meal.
Our first course was a Mediterrean salad that consisted of onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, grilled peppers, olives, hummus and tzatziki. It was a Greek salad with a few twists and was incredibly flavorful.
The main course was grilled salmon with fingerling potatoes and broccolini. When the platter was placed in front of us, my husband said, “This is exactly how we should always eat.” He was referring to the portion size. It wasn’t overwhelming, it was just enough and everything was perfectly cooked. We especially liked the crispy edge on the salmon.
Dessert was a brownie topped with vanilla ice-cream doused in a bourbon sauce and pistachio crumbs. I was already full but managed to take a few bites – it was decadent. My husband refuses to let a dessert go unfinished and happily polished it off.
Our server was professional, attentive and very well versed with regard to the dishes and ingredients and the assortment of cocktails.
The meals are priced at $32 per person, sans beverages.
Circa is located at 903 Manhattan Avenue in Manhattan Beach.
For additional information and reservations, visit the website at http://www.circamb.com/ or call 310-374-4422.