Love & Salt in Manhattan Beach sits on the main drag among the beachy storefronts of Manhattan Beach Blvd. The California fresh cuisine with Italian influences was created by Chef Michael Fiorelli, former Sous Chef at La Terranea and co-owners Guy and Sylvie Gabriele, former owners of Cafe Pierre. The open kitchen and modern rustic touches compliment the casual farm-to-table cuisine and the restaurant name, Love & Salt, was inspired by creating food that only requires two ingredients.
The menu was filled with creative small plates, pizza pies and some larger dishes that require a few more eaters. This style of dining makes it nice to try several dishes and this you must do.
The Bread at Love & Salt, which came in several forms – English Muffins, Ciabatta, Pizza Dough and Hot Dog Buns was hand crafted. The English muffins (not really Italian, but worth it) – light, airy with a nice cornmeal crust served with Rosemary Salted Butter were some of the best.
The Mortadella Hot Dog with Pickled Vegetable Relish served on a house made Bun had a nice combination of flavors. The bun – out of this world – as for the dog, needed to be a little larger to experience the full bologna flavor. I loved the pickled relish and the mustard combo.
The Freekehlicious Salad was more fun than delicious, but maybe I just can’t get my freak on about it. The grains tasted similar to wild rice and the radish and black currants added some contrast.
One of the most delicious and unique plates was the Cauliflower Leaves sauteed in Olive Oil with Parmesan and Red Chili Flakes over soft Mascarpone Cheese. I guess I have missed out on using the leaves all these years in cooking, but not anymore, this was simply outstanding.
The Gnocchi was another perfectly crafted dish with Prosciutto, Mushrooms and Wild Arugula. The pillowy soft potato gnocchi were made perfectly with just a hint of creamy pan sauce, a nice slice of fresh prosciutto and bright greens to lighten the dish. Loved this too!
The Pizza dough was as airy as the other delicious breads made in house, but with a slight charred chewy crust your teeth could get in to. The fresh ingredients on top of the Fennel Sausage Pie – Whipped Ricotta, Cavolo Nero, Pecorino, Chili, Fennel Pollen just enhanced the deliciousness of the dough.
Salt & Love – a local’s favorite, I’m sure – open for dinner and possibly brunch in the near future. The food quality was outstanding and the service delightful too. The Roasted Whole Chicken over housemade Croutons will be my destiny next visit.