Allison Mitchell | June 1, 2021 | Food & Drink
The short rib “Pop-Tart” is topped with horseradish cream and crispy shallots and drizzled with sauce au poivre. PHOTOGRAPHED BY DW VARLEY DISPATCH DISH
From powerhouses Michael Mina and Brent Bolthouse comes Long Beach’s new California-cool crown jewel. Welcome to The Bungalow Kitchen.
Prosciutto-wrapped Asian pears with fig vinegar and crispy Parmesan crackers PHOTOGRAPHED BY DW VARLEY DISPATCH DISH
The names Michael Mina and Brent Bolthouse have long been synonymous with groundbreaking restaurants and hospitality venues. Mina is the award-winning culinary maestro behind 16 dining ventures across the United States (including Bourbon Steak at Dana Point’s Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club) while Bolthouse is a hospitality veteran who came up in the industry promoting nightlife venues and music events before venturing into dining with the opening of The Bungalow in Santa Monica and Huntington Beach. Now, for the first time, the pair have joined forces in the social dining space to debut The Bungalow Kitchen, what Mina affectionately calls “a true celebration of coastal California cuisine.”
Tuna and tomato poke dressed in umami shoyu with tropical notes from lychee and finished with scallion and black sesame. PHOTOGRAPHED BY DW VARLEY DISPATCH DISH
Located at Long Beach’s 2nd & PCH in Belmont Shore, the 10,000-square-foot venue aims to capture the energy and excitement of a dinner party with spaces for drinking, eating and even playing a round of pool. “We designed this space to feel like you’re walking into the community’s living room,” says Bolthouse, who worked hand in hand with Venice-based firm Studio Collective to curate the 1970s-inspired ambiance. “Every space I design has a mythological muse. For The Bungalow Kitchen Belmont Shore, that muse is Patti Smith. If she moved from the East Coast to the West Coast, we think she’d live in Long Beach.” That warm yet edgy aesthetic, mixed with a touch of rock ’n’ roll, begins in the entryway’s Moroccan Room, where guests waiting for tables can cozy up by candlelight. Beyond, diners and imbibers will find gorgeously appointed dining rooms; a poolroom outfitted with vintage cassette tapes and posters; and the Sun Room, where you can grab a drink from the green onyx bar and overlook the marina. Naturally, beverages also get the rock ’n’ roll treatment. “Music is interwoven into every fiber of this restaurant; the cocktail names pay homage to lyrical legends from a variety of genres including David Bowie, Patti Smith and Snoop Dogg ,” notes Bolthouse.
A private dining space on Th e Bungalow Kitchen’s expansive outdoor patio PHOTOGRAPHED BY DW VARLEY DISPATCH DISH
“WE’VE GOT ONE OF THE COOLEST, MOST COMFORTABLE AND SEXY RESTAURANTS, AND WE TRIED TO CREATE THE MENU TO FIT THE VIBE AND FEEL.” –CHEF MICHAEL MINA
The restaurant’s retro-cool poolroom. PHOTOGRAPHED BY DW VARLEY DISPATCH DISH
Once you’ve picked your poison—we sugg est the Gin & Juice featuring coconut-infused gin, blood orange, pomegranate, passion fruit and peach, named for the Long Beach rapper’s famous song—pull up a seat on the 3,000-square-foot patio that affords diners primo waterfront views. And come hungry—Mina’s menu is extensive. “The menu was designed to fit the vibe of the restaurant. We’ve got one of the coolest, most comfortable and sexy restaurants, and we tried to create the menu to fit the vibe and feel,” says the chef. While the spicy lobster spaghetti is Mina’s personal go-to—“the handmade pasta is done fresh every day and has got it going on with some spiciness in the sauce, sweetness from the lobster, herbaciousness from the basil and is finished with Bona Furtuna olive oil,” he shares—Bolthouse can be found ordering the short rib “Pop-Tart,” a savory play on the childhood snack that’s stuffed with tender meat and topped with horseradish cream, crispy shallots and a drizzle of sauce au poivre. “It’s whimsical yet elevated and strikes the perfect balance of comfort and intriguing,” says Bolthouse. The sweet potato pancakes served with house-smoked king salmon, tangy creme fraiche and velvety apple butter are another crowd favorite, and topping them with the optional Tsar Nicoulai Osetra caviar is an absolute must. Further, the chiligarlic king crab legs, brushed with scampi butter, golden garlic and charred lime, are an inventive and delicious take on the crustacean, and the crispy duck wings, glazed with Grand Marnier, are an insanely flavorful iteration of the bar menu favorite. Foodies should opt for the chef’s tasting menu, where one to two spontaneous dishes may make a surprise appearance. (Don’t forget to ask about the off-menu ice cream sandwiches for dessert.) No matter the order, The Bungalow Kitchen is soon to be a SoCal headliner—with diners begging for an encore. 6400 Pacific Coast Highway, Ste. 200, Long Beach, 562.719.9400, bungalowkitchen.com
Award-winning chef Michael Mina and hospitality veteran Brent Bolthouse are the visionaries behind the concept PHOTOGRAPHED BY DW VARLEY DISPATCH DISH
The ’70s vibes begin in the Moroccan Room, the first space guests see upon entry. PHOTOGRAPHED BY DW VARLEY DISPATCH DISH
Crispy duck wings glazed with Grand Marnier and black pepper and finished with orange zest PHOTOGRAPHED BY DW VARLEY DISPATCH DISH