At 320 Main, Jason & Rebecca Schiffer started serving hand-crafted cocktails long before it was chic. To bring their menu to the level of their libations, they recently appointed Chef Jaime Carrano to head the back of the house in October 2013. Working in prestigious kitchens of Thomas Keller (Bouchon Beverly Hills) and Charlie Palmer (Aureole NYC and Charlie Palmer at South Coast Plaza), Chef Jaime’s background shows through in his approach to food and presentation. The eatery and drink house is a small space with a lively atmosphere. The tables and booths are cozy, great for a night out with friends, yet intimate enough for date night.
Let’s take a look at some of the menu offerings:
Grilled Octopus is served with white beans, pickled jingle bell peppers, upland cress, and parsley vinaigrette. The octopus was extremely tender. I loved the smoky flavor from the grill. The white beans were a little gritty, but were overcome by the refreshing flavors of the rest of the vegetables. Even though this was a starter, I could see this as a healthy entrée as well. Thumbs up!
Cheese & Charcuterie is pepato cheese, chicken liver and veal pate, prosciutto, purple mustard, pickled vegetables, and grilled bread. The pate was more like a terrine of chicken liver and veal but absolutely delicious! The texture was a little coarse but melts in your mouth from your natural body heat. The pickled vegetables were perfect, just enough pickled flavor while keeping the vegetables crisp. The prosciutto was fantastic with a faint scent of gaminess which reveals the aging process. It melts in your mouth like pork-flavored candy. Pepato cheese is like parmesan reggiano with an aged aroma and creamy finish on the palate. Thumbs up, way up!
I had to try a hand-crafted cocktail. Punchin’ Daisies is made with Maurin Quina (French aperitif), fernet (bitter, aromatic spirit), lemon, and elderflower syrup. I’m unsure how to describe the experience, but I loved it. It has a sweet and sour front end with a slightly bitter finish. The aroma was familiar but I couldn’t place it. After you sip and swallow the cocktail, you are left with the taste of butterscotch candy. This is a really fun drink that likes to play with your senses. Thumbs up, way up!
Crispy Skin Branzino served with cauliflower couscous, pomegranate, butternut squash, Brussels sprout leaves, and brown butter. My first impression as it was brought to the table, “What is that fantastic aroma?” It was the brown butter and crispy skin of the branzino. The skin was beautifully crispy and the fillet was succulent, delicately sweet and flavorful. The vegetables were beautifully presented with bright orange butternut squash, bright red pomegranates, and bright green Brussels sprout leaves. Everything worked together for a perfectly balanced dish. Thumbs up, way up!
8 oz. Skirt Steak served with bacon braised greens, romesco (Spanish nut & red pepper-based sauced), king oyster mushrooms, and hand cut fried potato. The skirt steak came out a perfect rare with a deep red interior. Even at rare, the beef was tender and sweet. The bacon braised greens were tender and naturally salted with smoky flavor from the bacon. The king oyster mushrooms had a meaty texture and were cooked to perfection. Thumbs up, way up!
Apple Butterscotch Tart served with crème fraîche and vanilla wafer. A twist on the American pie turned galette (French term for flat round or freeform cake or tarts). The crust was flaky and buttery. The apples tasted like a tart caramel apple, but not too sweet. The crème fraîche was creamy and matched perfectly with the apples, sort of like vanilla ice cream atop an apple pie. Thumbs up, way up!
Brown Sugar Cake served with banana, braised pineapple, and candied pecans. Fantastically presented on a cross-section of a tree trunk! The brown sugar cake was moist and had a salted caramel flavor. The banana “coulis” worked great with the cake and braised pineapples, very tropical like a deconstructed pineapple upside down cake. Thumbs up, way up!
Be sure to make a reservation! 320 Main is busy but so worth it!
- Happy Hour – Tuesday through Saturday from 3pm to 6pm and 9pm to 11pm, Sunday all day ($5 House Drinks, $4 Select Wines, $4 and $5 Draft Beers, $3 off Bar Snacks
Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 4 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars
For more information:
320 Main St
Seal Beach, CA 90740
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 11:30am to 11:00pm