Love & Salt
317 Manhattan Beach Blvd
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Dining date: 1/19/15
Love & Salt opened in November in what is a renewed and thriving dining scene in Manhattan Beach (M.B. Post, Fishing with Dynamite, Strand House, Little Sister and Akatora are other notable openings in the past few years). Michael Fiorelli, previously of mar’sel in Palos Verdes’ Terranea, is the chef behind the concept – Italian with Californian accents, made with plenty of love and salt.
The space is beautiful with an open kitchen, a mini chef’s counter, and a large communal table at center.
The menu has plenty to offer from a bread, cheese, and salumi selection to a handful of savory snacks, small plates, pizzas, pastas and large format proteins. We made our way through each section of the menu, ordering one or two from each (except the large plates).
LADY IN THE BALLROOM grapefruit vodka, st germain, red bell pepper, mint, lemon juice
This cocktail featured some fresh, vibrant flavors to complement the St. Germain. Copa D’Oro’s Vincenzo Marianella designed the cocktails here.
HOMEMADE ENGLISH MUFFINS rosemary, sea salt, cultured house butter
These were warm and fluffy on the inside with a nice crust on the outside. Rosemary butter was integral providing a burst of flavor; these would be great to take home and warm up in the morning.
MORTADELLA “HOT DOG” pickled vegetable relish, house mustard
This “hot dog” was particularly meaty in flavor, the richness complemented by plenty of acid in the vegetables.
WINTER CITRUS SALAD Shaved fennel, olive oil, cracked black pepper
The salad was refreshing featuring crisp fennel with bright winter citrus. Made for a nice healthy ‘break’ in between richer sandwiches.
CORNED LAMB TONGUE PANINI fontina, tomato aioli, pickled peppers, rye
This panini, similar to a reuben, had great crunch, toasted to a crisp. Oozing cheese and corned lamb tongue was luscious and meaty. Great flavors.
ROASTED BABY CAULIFLOWER salsa verde, preserved lemon, parmesan breadcrumbs
Roasted cauliflower didn’t disappoint with a tender interior and flavorful caramelization on the outside. Parmesan breadcrumbs were a difference-maker to these savory bites.
JIMMY CONWAY rye whiskey, rabarbaro zucca, amaro nonino, walnut bitters
For the second cocktail, I went with a bolder, alcohol-forward cocktail. Slightly earthy and nutty from the walnut bitters.
DUCK EGG pancetta, panna, potato, rosemary, mozzarella, parmesan
Pizza was solid, though not quite as interesting as the rest of the items we ordered. Pancetta and rosemary flavors were most prominent with the rich yolk.
BUCATINI fennel sausage, black kale, parmesan, bread crumbs
The pasta was great, nice chew, with a meaty sauce. The bread crumbs returned, proving a bit of a crunchy texture with each bite. To me, breadcrumbs with al dente pasta is a perfect combo.
CAVATAPPI roasted garlic, bone marrow, parsley, parmesan, cracked black pepper
Loved the tableside preparation with the bone marrow scooped in and topped with parsley, parmesan and more breadcrumbs. This was a standout dish with nice pasta and plenty of rich, savory flavors that worked well together. Totally a treat.
PAPPARDELLE tomato braised pork cheeks, ricotta, bread crumbs
Our last pasta was also meat-forward, this time with tender pork cheek and ribbons of pappardelle. Completed a trio of really solid pastas.
MEYER LEMON TART burnt meringue
“NOT ANOTHER BUDINO” hazelnut, milk chocolate, sea salt
A bright lemon tart and fudge-like chocolate-y tart were both good ways to complete the meal. So were the rosemary cookies, sweet and aromatic.
We had a strong meal at Love & Salt. The food feels familiar, yet interesting, and is executed just right. Pastas were a highlight for me, though the rest of the menu had no slouches. Love & Salt is another fine addition to the burgeoning Manhattan Beach dining scene and worth a trip.
Note: This was a hosted meal.