I have been obsessed with Top Chef for years. I watch it religiously and feel lucky I get to regularly seek out some of the chefs local to Southern California. When I saw the co-owner and co-chef of The Tripel in Playa del Rey, Brooke Williamson, was on Top Chef this season, I was stoked. Brandon and I stumbled upon her and her husband Nick Roberts’ bar Hudson House in Redondo Beach a couple of years ago and instantly fell in love with the atmosphere, food and wine. This past weekend, Brandon and I took a drive north to see if The Tripel impressed us as much as Hudson House.
When we arrived around 1pm, we grabbed the last seats in the house. I was immediately impressed by the wine list. Concise yet strong with some great values from France, Italy and California. I ordered an Alsatian blend from Kuentz-Bas and it was dry with citrus flavors…a great pick for $8.
The beer list was equally impressive. There were 14 craft brews on draft from Victory, Bear Republic and many other great breweries with prices ranging from $5-9. We ordered a couple of beers from the list, Allagash Black and Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye, which we have enjoyed many times before and definitely dug this time around.
We started off our meal with an order of sweet potato tots and they way over-delivered. Perfectly fried, lightly dusted with sea salt and served with a delicious spiced aioli and horseradish honey mustard. For our main courses, we ordered the charred baby octopus with black coconut rice, jalapeno and saffron along with steamed mussels and clams with a Serrano pesto broth and grilled bread. The mussels and clams were delicious…I could drink the broth and I practically (and by practically I mean actually) did. The octopus dish was the only letdown. While the octopus was perfectly cooked, I felt that the dish was a little rich and could use something to give it a lift. The bites with the jalapeno definitely helped but the saffron sauce still overpowered the delicate flavor of the octopus.
All in all, our experience was a memorable one…we will even be returning in the next week or so to bring some of our food and beer/wine loving friends. The Tripel is the kind of place I would open if I were lucky enough to ever have my own spot. Unpretentious and comfortable with darn good food and libations!