An intimate new restaurant in Long Beach excels in pairing food with the perfect wine or beer, creating a tasting experience you won’t want to end.
Sometimes you peruse a menu and declare, “I want it all!” Alas, this wish is both ridiculously ambitious (even for an overachiever like me) and highly impractical, even if you bring a tall, ravenous man to assist with this silly yet glorious notion of tasting everything on the menu.
But those are the words I uttered at Taste WBK (Wine-Beer-Kitchen) a cheerful restaurant and wine bar in the Belmont Heights neighborhood of Long Beach, where ripe, local produce is the focus and the weekday happy hour tastes like I’m not working tomorrow.
It’s an endearing little place with a big heart. This 35-seat restaurant exudes a delightful combination of rustic charm and amiable warmth by mixing unpretentiously imperfect textures—exposed brick walls and reclaimed wood—with the glow of Edison-style lighting and an adorable chalkboard wall showcasing handwritten daily specials.
Let’s decipher those initials in WBK: W is for wine. B is for beer. K is for kitchen. I like an establishment that leads with the grapes. The proprietors of Taste WBK—they get me. They totally get me.
Curated by sommelier Alicia Ajolo, the wine list journeys confidently through California, Oregon, Washington, France, Italy, Spain and South Africa. It’s refreshing to see Albariño, Chenin Blanc, Gamay and Grenache getting some love alongside the usual suspects. (I’m talking about you, Napa Chardonnay and Cab.)
Chef Brad Neuman creates tasty small plates and shareable dishes with produce from Farm Lot 59, a biodynamic urban farm in Long Beach. The seasons of southern California inspire his menu, which is organized into Snacks, From the Garden, For the Table, From the Pizza Oven, To Finish, and of course, Wine. (Hooray!)
Try the Panelle with Romesco Aioli; these savory, hand-cut chickpea fries are great with Slammertime, a German-style pilsner from Noble Ale Works. If you enjoy getting sauced, the sweet chili dipping sauce that accompanies the Vietnamese Pork Meatballs is wonderful, as is the apricot ginger dipping sauce paired with the Chicken Yakitori Skewers. And don’t even think of passing on the Mexican Corn off the Cob, a delicious fusion of grilled market corn, Serrano peppers, crema, cumin and cilantro.
You’re not full yet, are you? There are so many more dishes to discover! Chilled Italian Shellfish Salad, Blistered Shishitos, Chorizo Blanca Flatbread, Grilled Watermelon with Burrata, Mixed Berry Crumble with Black Pepper Ice Cream—I want it all!
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Yes, let’s be realistic for a moment; it’s not possible to try everything on the menu in one sitting. But that’s okay, because it’s an excellent reason to return again and again, which you should absolutely do. Get yourself to Taste WBK if you know what’s good for you. (Wine. The answer is wine. Oh alright—and the kale salad.)
Taste WBK (Wine-Beer-Kitchen)
3506 E. Broadway
Long Beach, CA 90803
Tuesday, Wednesday, Sunday from 4 – 9 p.m.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 4 – 10 p.m.
Happy Hour: Monday-Friday from 4-6 p.m. with featured small plates and select $5 wine by the glass.
Join us on Sunday, September 25 from 1-4 p.m. for a private savoring of the flavors you’ll find at Taste WBK. This intimate restaurant will be ours exclusively to enjoy with complimentary signature dishes, $5 red and white wines and an opportunity to enjoy their fascinating wine and beer list.
Tickets are $15 for SingularCity members and $25 for everyone else.
For more information on the event, click here.
Ready to join SingularCity? Request an invite.
Copyright © Michelle Gigon/2016 Singular Communications, LLC.
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 initiatives for luxury automotive, hotel and fashion brands.