A Hot Spot for Happy Hour in Long Beach
By Gina Ruccione, Cuisine Writer
Photos by Tommy Kishimoto
The restaurant scene in downtown Long Beach is competitive. You can find yourself walking into one restaurant, giving it the once-over, and, if it doesn’t suit your fancy, there’s another establishment right next door, ready and waiting for your business.
I appreciate this sort of healthy competition; it keeps people on their toes. BO Beaux Kitchen + Roof Tap in Long Beach thrives off of that sort of competitive edge.
Open just a little over a year, they have already gained quite a notable reputation for being the new “It” place in downtown Long Beach. They’ve certainly earned it.
Here’s what you need to know about Bo Beau Kitchen + Roof Tap:
The service is unparalleled, the ambiance is killer and their happy hour game is on point. The Cohn Restaurant Group, responsible for this relatively new jaunt, has been family-owned and operated for more than 33 years. They now own 21 restaurants that span from Southern California to Maui. Much of their success can be attributed to their “obsession with hospitality,” and let me tell you – it shows. The entire staff was so friendly and accommodating that I felt compelled to call the operations manager, James Stephenson and tell him about my experience. The service was probably the best I’ve had in Long Beach in a while.
Bo Beau Kitchen + Roof Tap is essentially two restaurants in one; it’s a fine dining restaurant and a rooftop bar.
The downstairs restaurant features a massive open-air kitchen that gives patrons the chance to witness the artful precision and finesse that goes into crafting fine entrees and appetizers. All restaurant kitchens should be open to curious onlookers. Don’t shy away from the good stuff — I want to see what you’re working with in there. And truth be told, presentation is everything. We eat first with our eyes.
Adjacent to the kitchen is the expansive dining room, providing the perfect ambiance for a night out. The juxtaposition of rustic metalwork pairs nicely with the luxurious, plush red sofas, adding a sort of erotic elegance that one might find in the French Quarter or an old parlor.
Roof Tap, the upstairs bar, is an open-air patio, with incredible views of Long Beach and a more relaxed atmosphere, and communal-style seating.
Happy hour at the Roof Tap is everything I want after a long day. I want to sit outside, watch the sunset, drink perfectly crafted cocktails and maybe even play pingpong—yes, there is a table in the back and also an incredible stash of nostalgic board games to play at your leisure. With 50 craft beers on draft and a martini bar with more than 100 different vodkas, there is seriously a beverage for any and all. They will even craft you something off the menu.
Bar snacks are an intricate part of the happy hour process. After about 30 minutes of sipping on a cocktail, I want snacks—not crackers—nuts, or the ubiquitous cheese plate. I want good food. BO serves sophisticated California-French comfort food, and they do it well. The roasted Brussels sprouts are served sprawling over a wooden chopping block, covered with shaved Parmesan and thick chunks of bacon. For those of you who don’t eat Brussels sprouts, this dish will make you a believer.
After happy hour, you should probably try the other menu items that Roof Tap has to offer. I typically shy away from anything called, “Sausage Fest,” as it just doesn’t roll off the tongue nicely, but that is one of the more popular dishes. It came highly recommended. The Leek Fondue Mac ‘n’ Cheese is also a fan favorite and comes with pancetta or lobster.
In the downstairs restaurant, I would suggest ordering any of the steaming pots of mussels; it is a French restaurant after all. I particularly liked the Mussels Molina, severed in a piping hot tomato broth with fragrant fennel and saffron. Of the bistro plates, try the braised beef short rib, which is served with gnocchi and garnished with a couple of onion rings. I know that sounds like an indulgent carb-on-carb crime, but it was oddly comforting.
Lastly, save room for dessert. They make all of their desserts in-house. Even the ice cream is made from scratch.
Gina Ruccione is a self-proclaimed food critic, who has traveled all over Europe and Asia, and has lived in almost every nook of Los Angeles County. Visit her blog at http://www.foodfashionfoolishfornication.com.