Michael's on Naples Ristorante

By Michael Dene
5620 E 2nd St
Long Beach, CA 90803
Telephone: (562) 439-7080

Who knew Long Beach could be just that much fun?!  What an iconic Southern California neighborhood of 1950's modern architecture, beach side stores and a host of interesting restaurants.  Michael's has been on our radar for the last few years and we finally made it to an extraordinary chef's tasting menu here on unseasonably warm Saturday night. 

We are fans of Michael's Pizzeria in Rancho Mirage and although the food there is limited because of the small size of the space, the interesting selections gave us a premonition that this would bring Michael's food to the next level.  We were not disappointed and it was worth the drive just for this restaurant, if not for all the other attractions.
The charming restaurant consists of two stories.  Downstairs is warm and inviting, flanked by a bar with a very welcoming bartender that everyone seems to know.  If it were a tiny bit cooler the day we visited, we would have hung out on the second floor, a rooftop cafe open to the stars (and well, the setting sun too in our case).  Even if we ultimately chose to dine downstairs, drinks and dessert before or after our dinner would definitely have been upstairs. 

We partook in the chef's tasting menu ($75; $105 with a wonderful selection of wine tasting pairings designed by the charming Sommelier and GM, Massimo Aronne) and felt it was a very good value for the fabulous selection of food that was offered up to us. The red Russian River kale salad with shaved bosc pears, Gorgonzola and candied pecans was flavorful and a clean way to begin our meal. 

It was followed by a house made cesarecce  pasta (which is a very narrow twisted and rolled tube) with braised duck neck.  We felt the duck preparation was superb, bursting with the tastes heightened by pistachios and shallots.

Next came a light dish which was fresh organic Branzino, so familiar to us all now but for those who haven't enjoyed this fish, it's basically European sea bass.  This course prepared our palates for our meat course which we delightfully enjoyed (well, at least Michael did, because Scott doesn't eat beef).  It was a carved New York strip with cipollini onions, house made potato gnocchi and a delicate side of haricot vert. 

We can't seem to get enough of Michael's house made pasta so what could be better than a deliciously prepared steak and fresh pasta?

We couldn't  leave without tasting their superb desserts. Our favorite was the Cioccolato budino, a chocolate tart with just the right amount of salted caramel.  As you may know by now from our myriad writings, The Dining Duo is a tad "saltaphobic" (believe it or not, that's the technical word for one who is afraid of salt) but every rule has an exception, and this was one of those times.  Who cares if our faces were swollen the next day, so were our stomachs.  In the words of General MacArthur, "I came through and I shall return",  Well, "we" that is. 

We can't wait to come back during the summer and enjoy another fabulous meal, but this time up top as and at sunset.

Appetizingly yours,

Michael and Scott
The Dining Duo

Posted by The Dining Duo | 9:33 AM | , , , , , | 0 comments »

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