Manhattan Beach or “Westport” as us east coast transplants like to call it is a beachside community filled with gorgeous dreamy California mansion-style homes all nestled together hanging over the creamy sand with sparkly rolling waves. For those of us in central Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach offers an escape from the madness to a small town feel of cute shops, ice cream pops, and skateboard hops.
In the not so distant past I use to spend one weekend a year at the luxury boutique Shade Hotel after partying in the sand during volleyball 6-Man weekend. This same casual beach-y hotel named one of the top 25 “trendiest hotels” in the United States by Trip Advisor is now backed up to an chic outdoor courtyard with numerous shops and restaurants just a block or so from the long sprawling sand.
Shade Hotel offers Zinc, an indoor-outdoor dining experience and lively lounge with entertainment. Their new Executive Chef Ashley Oates has fired up the beachside community’s foodie scene with mouth-watering concoctions. She creates classic dishes with a modern twist including local seafood and vegetables. Start with LA’s favorite cocktail, a Moscow Mule, or sip the Fire and Ice before you dive into the best fresh beach bites!
Our favorite Zinc menu items include the Spicy Tuna and Crispy Rice and the Kalbi Tacos. The Kalbi Tacos made from hand-made corn tortillas include Korean-braised short ribs and home-made kim chi. The east coast warm “Connecticut” style lobster roll comes with a twist – lemon aioli and toasted corn on the bottom of the toasted Parker roll.
“Adding flair and my own personality to the dish has really taken our menu to the next level,” said Oates. “You can’t be scared to take a risk with food.”
The Skinny Sashimi Salad with sashimi-grade hamachi is plated next to greens that are elegantly rolled with a sliced cucumber and doused with soy sauce and wasabi as well as frizzled sweet potatoes.
Seafood lovers should split the South Bay Paella, Manhattan Beach’s version of a seafood explosion with saffron infused rice bedding holding up the ocean floor aka Aegean black cod, Scottish salmon, jumbo shrimp, calamari, Manila clams, and my favorite New Zealand green-lipped mussels. Of course you will find a kale salad, a chopped salad, a burrata and tomato salad, but all with unique ingredients.
No wonder the menu is so impressive. Chef Ashley Oates studied at the renowned Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena and has served A-list celebrities such as Britney Spears, Vince Vaughn and Donald Trump. She has held positions in various kitchens throughout the Los Angeles and the South Bay area, including The Hollywood Bowl and Trump National Golf Course in Palos Verdes.
Also, Oates finds time to give back as an ambassador for Two Hands, Two Cans, a non-profit which works with children to show them how to cook with healthy ingredients and how to plant and maintain fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as introduces older kids to jobs in the food and beverage industry.
Zinc at Shade Hotel opens at 5 PM every night. Zinc’s culinary experience and drink concoctions are perfect for happy hour, date night, small gatherings, and even private parties. Enjoy some time by the beach with a meal you won’t forget.
310 546 4995
1221 N. Valley Drive
Manhattan Beach, CA
All photos courtesy of Melissa Curtin