Show 540, August 26, 2023: Executive Chef Robin Higa, MB Grille, Torrance Part One

Robin Higa of MB Grille

“Newly launched by the Market Broiler restaurant group is the seafood-centric MB Grille in Torrance at Del Amo Fashion Center designed by the award-winning Hatch Design Group. The new restaurant boasts a contemporary coastal design and lighter color palette, while maintaining Market Broiler’s signature large-format footprint at nearly 6,500 square feet. A spacious outdoor patio, complete with a decorative tile fireplace, welcomes visitors to the main entrance of the Del Amo Fashion Center.”

“Upon entering guests are enticed by the on-site fish market, featuring fresh seafood, including wild Atlantic Salmon, Chilean Seabass, Alaskan King Crab legs, mussels, clams, and oysters. With high-vaulted ceilings and exposed steel trusses, the open-air concept brings the outside in through a large window at the front of the space, as well as through an indoor-outdoor bar with seating for 22. Anchoring the dining room, is a large full-view expo window, allowing guests to view the action within the kitchen. The main dining room seamlessly flows into the bar area where high-top tables boast a hand-painted hexagonal design and plush barstool seating which create an exciting interaction between the dining room and bar.”

“While it may be our newest location, our MB Grille in Torrance sets the stage for the future of Market Broiler concepts,” comments founder Rodney K. Couch. “We want to continue to evolve with our guests, many of whom have been coming for more than 30 years, by offering a convivial destination that welcomes and embraces the next generation of diners.”

“The Summer menu celebrates the concept’s roots in sustainable seafood. Executive Chef Robin Higa’s seasonable menu features shareable starters including a refreshing Crab Avocado Stack with pickled red onion and frisée topped with pineapple relish and cherry tomato puree; Poke Nachos featuring layers of fried wonton triangles topped with MB’s signature poke, serrano peppers, and avocado drizzled with soy sauce and spicy mayo; and Tomato Burrata Bruschetta with whipped burrata, heirloom tomatoes, balsamic reduction, olive oil, and micro basil. Seasonal seafood entrees include a whole Mediterranean Branzino in a lemon-artichoke butter sauce, served with broccolini and rice pilaf; and sustainably caught Harpooned Swordfish hand-caught in local waters.”

“A native of Hawaii, Chef Robin Higa trained at Kapiolani College of Culinary Arts. He started his career in the restaurant industry at the age of seventeen, and began “moving up the ladder” when he reached the Mainland. Robin is an experienced executive chef adept at creating and managing a wide range of retail food and beverage concepts from casual themed dining, catering operations and fine dining restaurants. Robin is the consummate chef who truly understands the balance of menu item development and the alignment and execution of delicious food, which is complementary to MB Grille’s operations. He is also an everyday, hands-on, roll-up-your-sleeve team player who goes to great lengths to get the job done.”

Chef Robin Higa joins us with an order of Poke Nachos at the ready.

Show 540, August 26, 2023: Executive Chef Robin Higa, MB Grille, Torrance Part Two

Robin Higa of MB Grille

“Newly launched by the Market Broiler restaurant group is the seafood-centric MB Grille in Torrance at Del Amo Fashion Center designed by the award-winning Hatch Design Group. The new restaurant boasts a contemporary coastal design and lighter color palette, while maintaining Market Broiler’s signature large-format footprint at nearly 6,500 square feet. A spacious outdoor patio, complete with a decorative tile fireplace, welcomes visitors to the main entrance of the Del Amo Fashion Center.”

“The Summer menu celebrates the concept’s roots in sustainable seafood. Executive Chef Robin Higa’s seasonable menu features shareable starters including a refreshing Crab Avocado Stack with pickled red onion and frisée topped with pineapple relish and cherry tomato puree; Poke Nachos featuring layers of fried wonton triangles topped with MB’s signature poke, serrano peppers, and avocado drizzled with soy sauce and spicy mayo; and Tomato Burrata Bruschetta with whipped burrata, heirloom tomatoes, balsamic reduction, olive oil, and micro basil. Seasonal seafood entrees include a whole Mediterranean Branzino in a lemon-artichoke butter sauce, served with broccolini and rice pilaf; and sustainably caught Harpooned Swordfish hand-caught in local waters.”

“A native of Hawaii, Chef Robin Higa trained at Kapiolani College of Culinary Arts. He started his career in the restaurant industry at the age of seventeen, and began “moving up the ladder” when he reached the Mainland. Robin is an experienced executive chef adept at creating and managing a wide range of retail food and beverage concepts from casual themed dining, catering operations and fine dining restaurants. Robin is the consummate chef who truly understands the balance of menu item development and the alignment and execution of delicious food, which is complementary to MB Grille’s operations. He is also an everyday, hands-on, roll-up-your-sleeve team player who goes to great lengths to get the job done.”

Chef Robin Higa continues with us with an order of Crab Avocado Stack at the ready.

Show 204, December 31, 2016: Ben Sabouri, Partner, The Ritz Prime Seafood, Newport Beach

Ben SabouriThe Ritz Prime Seafood launched late last year in Newport Beach. The $5 million update to the previous Chart House location was lavish.

It was a bit of a misfire as long-time guests of the departed The Ritz in Newport Center (famous for elegant Continental dining) were expecting a refreshening of that legendary and venerable establishment and this was actually an entirely new, contemporary concept. Oops…Now let’s meet the totally fresh The Ritz Prime Seafood 2.0.

“Located along Newport’s scenic Mariner’s Mile, The Ritz Prime Seafood offers a fine dining experience harbor side, with a globally influenced menu featuring sustainable fish and seafood flown in daily, as well as dry-aged steaks, chops and Jidori chicken. It’s a reconceived, all new and different incarnation of the past three-decade-old The Ritz. This chic, upscale restaurant has new culinary offerings and its own look, social buzz and vibe – already becoming a Southern California “modern legend” with its own distinctive personality.”

“Dinner is served nightly and highlighted by entrees, including from the Sea: Branzino with sunchoke, pistachio, couscous and sultana; Sea Scallop with cauliflower, pomegranate and hazelnut brown butter; and Alaskan Halibut with red bell pepper, eggplant puree and confit tomatoes. From the Land are Lamb Rack with zucchini mint puree and Israeli couscous; 16oz Tomahawk Steak with bone marrow butter, broccoli potato au gratin and marsala jus; Jidori Chicken; and other entrees.”

The Ritz Prime Seafood is one of the many restaurants participating in the annual Newport Beach Restaurant Week set for January 16 to 29, 2017. This is a prime opportunity to experience the new dinner menu at The Ritz Prime Seafood. It’s 3 courses with choices for each course for $50 per guest. The entree possibilities are Pan Seared Sea Bass, Pan Seared Jidori Chicken Breast and Prime Filet Mignon. (the full menu is posted within their Website.)

Partner Ben Sabourui, a hospitality veteran, joins us with the details.

Show 172, May 21, 2016: Executive Chef Dirk Flanigan, Ocean Cut, Chicago

Dirk Flanigan of Ocean Cut ChicagoChicago’s C Chicago in River North has just been reconceptualized as Ocean Cut under the culinary leadership of Dirk Flanigan (ex-The Gage.) Guests can expect fresh fish flown in daily along with 100 per cent USDA Prime steaks. Chicago’s Chef Dirk Flanigan is our guest.

Ocean Cut is the newest seafood concept from the owners of Chicago Cut Steakhouse. The restaurant is centrally located in Chicago’s vibrant River North restaurant scene.

With culinary pioneer Dirk Flanigan serving as Executive Chef and powerhouse General Manager Raylene Westbrook leading the floor, this nautically-focused concept is approachable yet adventurous. Co-proprietor Matt Moore is highly visible working the floor and checking on guests.

The culinary philosophy behind Ocean Cut balances simplicity and creativity while maintaining a culture based on quality and fresh ingredients.

This is also the House of Irish hospitality. A lot of the staff are from Ireland or are of Irish heritage and it adds an unexpected welcoming ambiance to the property.

Designed by leading Chicago architect Mark Knauer, the 8,000 square foot, two-story restaurant is a modern interpretation of classic maritime influences.

Not to be missed is Chef Dirk’s $23 Lunch Prix Fixe Menu. It’s a choice of Appetizer, an Entrée with a Side of seasonal vegetables and Dessert. We enjoyed the Greek Branzino (half) with lemon vinaigrette and a side of beautifully roasted cauliflower. A quality Key Lime Pie (house-baked) was our dessert choice.