My friend Adam emailed me a foodie blog notice that a gastropub would be opening in Old Torrance. So when Carrie and I celebrated our 9-Year Wedding Anniversary, we decided to check it out.
The 1321 Downtown Taproom Bistro is a manly restaurant from the decor to the food's bold flavor focus.
Darked burled wood and antique brass fittings festoon the interior with a bar featuring microbrews.
We started with chili-garlic roasted peanutes topped with fire red peppers, including a jalepeno that had a shimmering deep red color. I ate it whole as a way of greeting the new restaurant. Fire in the mouth with a splash of lime always makes me happy. So far so good.
The calamari tacos with two salsas, verde and guajillo, were outstanding and I will have to order them again.
Sadly, our two entrees, though high quality, were average. Carrie ordered fish and chips and they did not come with malt vinegar, much to the dish's detriment.
And my MOD Burger, with grilled onions and bacon, was average and in fact reminded me of a Bob's Big Boy Burger from my youth. I don't think this was the chef's intent.
My Yeti Imperial Stout was top-rate, rich, chocolatey, almost too much near the end as I eschewed the last puddle in my glass. I'd try the porter next time.
Dessert was fantastic: Two giant scoops of caramel ice cream next to an oversized chocolate brownie and covered with a butter cream sauce.
Would I go back? Yes. I like the overall environment and believe there are some good dishes to try. I'd like to return soon to get the peanuts, the calamari tacos, and something I didn't try: smoked brisket flautas.
While I liked dessert, next time I will skip it as I found myself as a sort of penance jogging for over an hour the next morning.