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locAl nuGGeTs


writ ten By: Quinn r oBertS
tucked away in the rivera plaza along palos Verdes Boulevard in redondo Beach, gina lees Bistro is easy to miss. however, with its fresh ingredients and Korean inspired dishes, locals continue to flock to the restaurant, which just celebrated its 16th anniversary over mothers day. with asian art along the walls and bamboo plants throughout the restaurant, the decor creates a sleek, clean aesthetic that allows customers to feel comfortable in the space. Some people just discover us after many years of living in the South Bay. the location is a little off the beaten track, said gina lee, who owns the restaurant with her husband and chef Scott. with it being on palos Verdes Boulevard, we get a lot of people on their way home. our location has actually been helpful, but we are a little bit of a sleeper. with no formal training, Scott got the inspiration for each dish from his mother, who taught him everything he knows about cooking. it is california cuisine because of the freshness of the ingredients mixed with the asian preparation, which i think is a really good fit for this area, gina said. people want that lightness. we give people enough variety. Some of the most popular items on the menu continue to be the potato crusted salmon ($20.95), the whole crispy catfish ($25.95) and the bento box ($21.50), which vegan and vegetarian entrees. kitchen, choosing instead to get items delivered daily. fresh. if its fresh, weve got it. if it isnt, we dont. So, people dont have to worry.

changes daily. the catfish, which is served with hot and sweet slaw and ponzu, even won an award from the catfish institute of america. Some other menu highlights include: blackened ono with sticky fried rice ($24.95), ahi poke stir fry ($24.95) and Korean BBQ flank steak ($20.95). the restaurant also offers traditional korean dishes, along with Being open so long, the hardest thing is keeping the menu interesting, yet providing the regular item menus that people expect, gina said. we have to keep it interesting for customers and for ourselves. gina lees keeps very little on the shelves of the that is one of the things that has contributed to our success, gina said. it is all very with Scott and gina understanding how many restaurant choices people have in the South Bay, both just hope to be in the rotation of restaurants locals think of. ive looked back at our original mission statement and it was all about it being a neighborhood bistro and being apart of the neighborhood, gina said. it also had to do with being warm and inviting and i feel as if i want people to have that when they walk through the door, like they are coming into my home.

62 | 6.01.2012

photograph by paul jonason