On warm, sunny days we love brunching near the water. On this particularly sunny day we headed south to try Baleen Kitchen in Redondo Beach. Beyond the pier sign you’ll see the Portofino Hotel & Marina on the left and to the right a small sign that reads Baleen Kitchen. The split level restaurant is extremely welcoming. Upstairs houses the main dining rooms with gorgeous large windows overlooking the marina. On the lower level you’ll find the patio right on the water, be careful not to lose your sunglasses. I appreciated the table options between sun and shade; we opted for shade.
Our server was incredibly friendly and knowledgeable. She gave us a good background on executive chef Richard Crespin (originally from Spain his dishes are tapas inspired and all homemade) and gave us details on menu items. The hardest part of the day was deciding between the impressive Baleen Bloody Mary Bar($15) and the Unlimited Mimosas ($15). So naturally we did both! We started out with the Bloody Mary bar. The staff helped us with hints on how to create spicy original libations. The hot sauce variety and bowls of spices elevated the experience (and end result). I finished mine off with an excessive amount of olives and a stick of bacon. It was amazing; I’ll have to tell Chef Crespin to put it on the menu.
The menu has the perfect amount of options ranging from breakfast staples (Two Eggs Any Style $11) to inventive lunch fare (Penne & Shrimp $23). The Benedict selection was very enticing and we ended up trying two of their three: the Pulled Pork Benedict (bacon potato hash) $14 and the King Harbor Benedict (smoked salmon, tomato, red onion, caper hollandaise) $16. I rounded out the order with their signature dish, Huevos Redondos (black bean quesadilla, fried eggs, avocado, romesco, feta, cilantro) $12. The Pulled Pork Benedict was incredible. Tender, juicy, salty and savory! And the bacon potato hash was a star all on its own. One of my co-brunchers actually sent me a message later that day that read, “still dreaming of the Pulled Pork Benedict.” It’s that good. The King Harbor was also excellent. Who wouldn’t love a homemade caper hollandaise? The arugula salad accompaniment was a nice palate cleanser in between samples of all the dishes, it wasn’t overdressed and the lettuce tasted farmer market fresh. Romesco, oh romesco where have you been all my life? The Huevos Redondos with the homemade romesco sauce was absolutely delightful. I think I could eat anything in that sauce, anything.
At this point in time we switched over to Mimosas. The sun reflected off the water and our neighboring tables all looked happy and relaxed. You get a sense that you’re on vacation while dining here and that’s probably because many of the guests actually are on vacation. As if we didn’t eat enough delicious food we had to, HAD TO, try the Pain Perdu (French toasted baguette, brown sugar, mascarpone, strawberries) $11. Funny how we all thought we were full until we had a bite of this scrumptious treat. Between our three forks it didn’t stand a chance. Long live the homemade mascarpone and delectable syrup. When we had finished we couldn’t quite get ourselves to leave.
It's often times challenging to find a place that has both incredible ambience and food but Baleen Kitchen knocks it out of the park. Grab a loved one or friends and head here ASAP, they even offer FREE valet.
BALEENkitchen 260 Portofino Way, Redondo Beach, CA 90277