It’s unfortunate that Torrance doesn’t have its share of South Bay gourmet restaurants. In the last 3 years, South Redondo Beach residents has been blessed by the increase of popular restaurants that have opened their doors. I was happy to see an interesting new restaurant, Lou’s on the Hill, take over the space that Il Toscano once occupied in Hillside Village.
Many South Bay residents already know co-owner Lou Giovanetti. Lou and his wife Grace previously owned the Side Door in Manhattan Beach. Lou is probably known more for his voice where he’s performed at the Hermosa Beach Pier on New Year’s Eve. He’s also performed numerous times at St. Rocke in Hermosa Beach.
My wife and I ordered a couple of cocktails to begin the evening: she ordered the Zamperini – a tribute to the late Louis Zamperini: Contratto Bianco vermouth, grenadine and prosecco rounded out this sparkling cocktail. It gave her the impression of a smooth cherry version of a mimosa. The Dirty Martini: Boyd & Blair vodka, caperberry & sea bean garnish, was extremely smooth and had a nice clean finish.
We began with a bottle of Chianti Alteo Donna Laura 2012 and a small salumi board: calabrese, bresaola, lomo and toscano salamis. Pickles, olives and cheese were also included.
A tri colored roasted baby beet salad was served next. The beets were combined with gorgonzola dolce, walnut dusting, and arugula. The combined flavors of roasted beets, gorgonzola dolce, arugula and walnuts made for a delicious salad.
Lou’s on the Hill makes all of their pastas in-house. Eating the black pepper pappardelle makes you quickly realize the difference between freshly made pasta and store bought. The bolognese sauce was thick and the mix of tomatoes, garlic and herbs was nicely balanced.
I ordered the crispy skin salmon medium rare and I was absolutely delighted that it was perfectly cooked: super moist on the inside and flakey to the fork on the outside. The dish was accompanied with roasted fennel and blood orange.
We ordered the four cheese white pizza to go for our daughter. This is a woodfired pizza including ricotta, pecorino-romano, parmigiano-reggiano and Angelo and Franco mozzarella cheeses. The fresh arugula and pesto nicely complimented the pizza.
Lou’s on the Hill has a number of original craft cocktails including a Corcovado mule made with aged cachaça, scotch whiskey, ginger, fresh lime and sugar. Italian amaro or bitters are frequently used in their original craft libations.
I really like the fact that their kitchen is truly open. People that are interested in watching how their food is prepared can have a seat overlooking the kitchen. In fact, executive chef Eric Minkle is directing the efforts and ensuring that each plate going out is properly presented.
If you desire to have a more romantic evening, booth seating is available near the front of the restaurant which the kitchen action isn’t visible. While we dined, a pianist played a number of tunes from the Sinatra era. Only a few weeks ago, they hosted an event and had jazz pianist David Benoit on the piano.
Lou’s on the Hill refers to their particular offerings as “Cali-Ital,” something that is more of an approach to the food than a style of cuisine. They source local, seasonal, sustainable, antibiotic-free ingredients from suppliers such as Mary’s free range chicken, Valdivia Farms and Kenter Canyon Farms.
Midway through our dinner, Lou went up to the microphone and sang one of Frank Sinatra’s popular tunes, “Stay with me”.
I haven’t had a date night like that in awhile.
Thursday night, March 12 at 9:00pm, Lou and friends will be performing live. Be sure to make reservations for this special evening.
- Lou’s on the Hill