There is nothing quite like summer time in L.A.’s South Bay which includes the unique beach communities of tony Manhattan Beach, fun-loving Hermosa Beach and quirky Redondo Beach. And while dining by the beach year round is of course a pleasure, the magic naturally only increases with the rise of the mercury. The newest kid on the block is not a kid at all, but a mature, sultry dining experience in Hermosa Beach, appropriately named Decadence.
The name Decadence naturally refers to extravagance, luxury and self-indulgence. However, what you get at Decadence is much more. While the atmosphere is certainly chic – think purple banquettes, artistic Spanish tiles and a cleverly glass-enclosed kitchen – the food is fantastically prepared and served by those passionate about the entire culinary experience. All of this in one spot without an ounce of pretension or pomp.
Owner Skylar Tourigny is petite in stature but an Amazon on vision and talent. Formerly she owned Marine Street Café in Manhattan Beach as well as Elleni Couture that coupled the sale of designer shoes with gourmet chocolate. Because who doesn’t want to buy delicious chocolates before, during and after shoe shopping? Wanting to put it all together – minus the shoes – and design a beautiful space where the freshest ingredients were sourced and used to create meals nearly too beautiful to eat, Tourigny has been successful on both counts.
Decadence’s bar is inviting and the wide-open entry provides for good people watching. Bartenders have a noteworthy list of inspired, original cocktails, such as the Purple Sky, where fresh muddled blackberries and thyme take center stage to Buffalo Trace Bourbon.
Decadence is pan-Asian food with a twist at its very finest. The tempura fried avocado slices served with a kicking spicy aioli tickles the tongue. The combination of creamy and crunchy is utterly divine.
The chicken and mushroom dumplings over bok choy in a chili broth sprinkled with sesame seeds is another all out winner.
The ginger roasted beet and Burrata salad with watermelon balls and fresh shallot was a treat. If food can taste like a season, this dish tasted like a perfect summer day.
There were two surprises for me. Admittedly, there are two dishes I never order or ever cook. One is swordfish and the other is cooked carrots. However the supremely gifted Executive Chef Huy Nguyen, formerly of Faith & Flower, happily converted me with a phenomenal swordfish that was not only tender, but also bursting with flavor. And that was before I tasted the tangy ginger pureé alongside it.
The other surprise of the evening was the roasted and glazed heirloom carrots served with warm dates and a creamy cumin-spiced yogurt. It was a matrimonial bliss of farm fresh vegetables to North African spice market.
For those with more continental palates, Decadence has an excellent cast iron roasted N.Y. steak with sauce Bordelaise. There are also mile-high cheeseburgers and Impossible vegan burgers perfectly cooked on housemade, mouth-watering brioche that is picture perfect.
If you are a serious chocoholic, leave a bit of room and enjoy the creamy Chocolate Decadence for dessert. With a touch of raspberry glaze, you will remember precisely why it is that diet is a four-letter word.
So when your plans bring to Los Angeles, take a drive to the coast and make sure and dine at Decadence in Hermosa Beach. A memorable dining experience awaits you in an environment sure to please. 1332 Hermosa Avenue, Hermosa Beach, CA 424/409-0990. http://decadencebar.com
Julie L. Kessler is MoneyInc’s Travel & Luxury Editor and writes travel stories for various major media outlets. She is also an attorney and legal columnist based in Los Angeles and the author of the award-winning book “Fifty-Fifty: The Clarity of Hindsight.” She can be reached at Julie@VagabondLawyer.com