This waterfront restaurant offers an Asian-inspired ambiance, exotic cocktails and a tantalizing menu that might inspire your finest flirting.
Sometimes, the only thing I like to make for dinner is reservations. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy experimenting with flavors and techniques in the kitchen; I can sear, sauté and sous-vide with confidence, and I throw killer dinner parties. But occasionally I’m simply not in the mood to make a big production for a party of one.
We’ve all been there, right? So here’s a fine excuse to power up your OpenTable app: Dine Out Long Beach, Restaurant Week 2.0. From February 28 through March 5, more than 50 Long Beach restaurants will offer exclusive prix-fixe menus to get you out of the kitchen and into some of the coastal city’s most intriguing gastropubs, cafes and waterfront bistros.
I checked out one of the restaurants on the list, Tantalum, and it has “date night” written all over it. I think Tantalum might be a Cal-Asian word for “uncontrollable desire to shamelessly flirt while under the influence of exotic cocktails.”
Actually, tantalum is a chemical element (number 73 on the periodic table), but Tantalum is a hidden gem in the Marina Pacifica specializing in Asian-influenced California cuisine, which is oh so opportune when one is interested in exploring that other type of chemistry.
I see a couple ways to approach your evening here.
Get acquainted at the bar.
Take a seat at the 75-foot mahogany bar, mesmerized by sweeping views of the bay and your date’s mischievous smile. Order the Whiskey Business cocktail, a gorgeous blend of Paddy Irish Whiskey and Ardberg mist, brightened with honey syrup, fresh lemon juice, and a touch of muddled strawberry. Profess your penchant for grainy black-and-white photography over bites of chicken satay while contemplating the important choices of the evening, like Yakiniku Calamari or Beef & Chips.
Beef & Chips? Despite your concern at what appears to be a frankly unimaginative name for an appetizer, you give in to your carnivorous craving and revel in the deliciousness of braised short ribs and duck fat steak fries smothered in white cheddar sauce, slowly losing your mind and your inhibitions.
Get better acquainted in the dining lounge.
Prepare to be charmed by rich dark woods, lush foliage and an Indonesian island vibe. Start with a glass of Malbec and discover that your date, who’s both cerebral and silly, appreciates Jean-Paul Sartre and Key & Peele. He spends a lot of time thinking about environmentalism. Cheese. The return of LCD Soundsystem. He tells you about a great little foot massage place in Ojai while you pray that there are no remnants of Beef & Chips stuck in between your teeth.
You dive into inventively delectable entrées, like the Mango-Glazed Blackened Tilapia and the Wasabi-Crusted Filet Mignon, and then with wild abandon, you send yourselves into a state of nirvana—specifically the Dark Chocolate Nirvana—a blissful Belgian bittersweet chocolate lava cake adorned with fresh strawberries and Chantilly whipped cream.
You think to yourself, how this delicious evening at Tantalum is such an improvement over that date with the venture capitalist who tried to high-five you every five minutes and lectured you on the proper way to eat asparagus. (He was wrong, by the way; it’s perfectly acceptable to use one’s fingers—and much more satisfying.)
For more information about Dine Out Long Beach, Restaurant Week 2.0 visit DineOutLongBeach.com
Copyright © Michelle Gigon/2016 Singular Communications, LLC.
Marina Pacifica Mall
6272 E. Pacific Coast Hightway
Long Beach, CA 90803
Monday – Thursday: 2:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Friday: 2:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Saturday: 10:00 am – 11:00 pm
Sunday 2:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Sunday Brunch: 10 am – 2 pm
Monday – ALL DAY starting at 2:30 pm
Tuesday-Friday 2:30 – 6 pm
Saturday 10 am – 2 pm
Sunday 2:30 pm – 6 pm
Michelle Gigon is the Food, Wine & Spirits Editor for Singular magazine and the leader of SingularCity’s Girls, Guys and Grapes group. On her list of favorite things are (A) discovering memorable epicurean experiences and (B) telling people about them. A former brand agent at CAA, Michelle is also a freelance creative director on lifestyle marketing programs for Lexus, Nestlé, TV Land and Aspen Food & Wine Classic.