I loved going to Mark Gold's Sunday Suppers at Eva in West Hollywood. It was four courses of quality food at a great price in what felt and looked like someone's home complete with wrap around, outdoor patio. Chef Gold was always seen wandering around and greeting people with a big smile that was infectious to fellow diners, so naturally I was disappointed when Eva closed, but excited when I heard of his reappearance in Manhattan Beach at a new restaurant, Chez Soi.
Chez Soi has taken over the former Sashi sushi spot on Metlox Plaza. It's a much bigger location with a decent size attached bar that turns into an odd clubby scene after dinner, complete with DJ and dancing. It felt like a bit of a departure from his previous homey digs, but 3 of my friends and I went in with an open mind and were happy to sit on another nice, covered, outdoor patio.
Within moments of arriving at our table, the affable Chef Gold greeted us and struck up conversation. We joked about him pulling up a chair and telling us about his transition to this new spot, and sure enough, we were now enjoying a table for 5.
He's sourcing most of his ingredients locally and trying to have some fun, including throwing in a fried chicken night on Sunday's, with a keg of beer on tap, but it hasn't quite caught on. The Saturday night we were there was pretty quiet for a new restaurant opening, but the location is a little off the main drag, and sometimes these things take a while to build momentum.
At taste test time, Gold treated us to a few extra plates including a cauliflower soup, which he correctly assumed we wouldn't order on our own, but that changed with one spoonful of the rich, decadent soup. Our carefully cooked octopus with fingerling potatoes and smoky chorizo paled in comparison.
We continued with a light and tender hamachi, beautifully presented, and a plate of ruby red beets and creamy burrata.
The corn ravioli was just like you'd want it - cooked al dente in a light, but flavorful broth with the addition of lightly seared white, pearl onions.
We had to be talked into the Coq au Vin when our duck confit was no longer available. We need to thank the duck for not being around as this chicken was moist, full of flavor and in the most decadent, slightly syrupy, sauce. We were a bit overwhelmed by the dark, menacing plate when it arrived, but got over it pretty quickly as we dug into the tasty bird.
The steak and pork were also nicely plated, perfectly cooked, and uniquely paired.
Side note on the bread and fries - yes, get them. The bread was warm and doughy with chunks of sea salt that made it feel like a cousin to the doughnut, and the fries were crisp served with a rich aioli that proved a nice companion to the steak.
Of course we had to save room for Gold's infamous butterscotch pudding that luckily made the trip from Eva. The layered strawberry shortcake was fine, but the butterscotch pudding is divine and worth the trip.
I hope Gold finds his people in Manhattan Beach. I'm not sure if the South Bay crowd is up for getting their hands dirty for fried chicken and keg beer night, but I know I'll be back!