With outstanding cuisine and a cozy atmosphere, Radish is the perfect place to enjoy upscale Southern fare with a menu that offers food and cocktails with a unique perspective and flavor profile.
Debuting in July in Long Beach, Radish is owned by William and Brooke Rester, who wanted to open a small, upscale space that embraced time-honored cooking techniques and traditions. They hired Chef Lauren Joffrion as executive chef, and together, they created an ingredient-driven menu that showcases what it means to eat and drink in the South.
The name of the restaurant is acknowledged throughout the building in many different décor choices, some upfront and others with a cheeky wink. Not only are radishes incorporated into the menu, but the vegetable can be seen growing in planters on the front porch, in murals on the walls and even on the bathroom wallpaper.
“Brooke pulled the name out of thin air one morning,” William recalls. “One of the things we’ve always loved about living in Long Beach is its long and colorful history. The fact that it was once known as the ‘Radish Capital of America’ played into that. My favorite restaurants have always had a name that was somehow indicative of time and place, a connection to the menu and the food.”
They describe the Radish dinner menu as elevated Southern cuisine consisting of small plates, soups and salads, entrées, sides and add-ons, along with ever-changing specials. The restaurant sources local produce and proteins, and everything is made from scratch.
“The menu and the restaurant is, in many ways, a collection of memories and experiences, takes on flavors and cuisines Brooke and I have experienced throughout the years,” William says. “When creating dishes with Chef Lauren, we try to stick to the regional aspect of the cuisine but also introduce something new and fun.”
On our visit, my girlfriend, Lauryn, and I got to experience this firsthand, as every dish brought a smile to our faces. Our meal started with a small cast-iron pan of molasses cornbread topped with honey butter and made with locally produced Gold Tap honey. It was incredibly light and melted in our mouths.
Next up were some fantastic crab beignets made with generous portions of fresh lump crab perched on a Crystal sauce beurre blanc and perfectly topped with a delicious house-made pepper jelly.
With the weather just beginning to turn cooler, the next selection we tried, the steak ramen with buckwheat soba noodles, marinated soy egg, molasses-braised collard greens and nori was a welcome treat. The aromatic curry broth smelled delightful.
Radish uses fresh Gulf fish, and the week we went, cobia was the featured catch. The entrée was served on a sautéed tomato jam with a crust made from the contents of an herb garden out back. A beurre blanc sauce and micro greens topped off the dish, which looked as good as it tasted.
We ended our meal with a black pepper cheesecake done a bit unconventionally. Instead of being sliced, the dessert was scooped onto a brown-butter crumble that emulated a crust and topped with a raspberry puree and surrounded by fresh raspberries, strawberries and herbs like purple basil and basil flowers. It was like being served a piece of fine art.
“Everyone at Radish takes great pride in what we provide to our guests, and I’m proud of every one of them,” Chef Lauren says. “We have something wonderful here in Long Beach, and I cannot wait for everyone to see what we have to offer!”
William adds, “I once read that if you put good in, you get good out. Radish is my attempt to create somewhere that I would want to eat time and again. Good ingredients. Good people. Good experience.”
Radish is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. The restaurant offers a full bar with wine, liquor, beer and specialty cocktails. The lunch menu features quick and flavorful sandwiches and hand-cut fries not available at night.
Reservations are recommended, especially on weekends.
IF YOU GO
200 Jeff Davis Ave., Long Beach