Introducing 21 Square Bar + Kitchen

November 21, 2016

DSC_6711The Torrance Marriott lobby bar and restaurant recently underwent a massive makeover into the chic, new 21 Square Bar & Kitchen.

21 Square offers handcrafted, coastal, comfort cuisine bridging the gap between city and beach lifestyles, and a hyper-local design concept.

I attended a Media Preview Dinner a few days before the official opening on Saturday, November 19, and along with a sampling of several menu items, there were a few truly unique and fun surprises.

21 Square offers a full bar with ten beers on tap, including five local craft brews, and a Private Label beer appropriately named 21 & Over courtesy of Absolution Brewing.

DSC_6720Photo courtesy of Gloria Plascencia Photography

Guests can dine at the bar, in the Great Room, on the patio, or enjoy sips and bites around the fireplace on the veranda.

DSC_6690Photo courtesy of Gloria Plascencia Photography

IMG_5366Photo courtesy of Gloria Plascencia Photography

DSC_6695Photo courtesy of Gloria Plascencia Photography

At first glance, the menu items may seem familiar (tacos, fish & chips, flatbreads), but Executive Chef Victor Miguel has created inspired, delectable versions of these popular dishes.

DSC_6777Photo courtesy of Gloria Plascencia Photography

The LYB Tater Tots (loosen your belt) is the perfect dish to share. It consists of a pile of tater tots with chunks of capicola, mortadella, salami and sausage, covered in cheddar and mozzarella, sprinkled with scallions and topped with a poached egg…..incredibly decadent.

DSC_6737Photo courtesy of Gloria Plascencia Photography

The Absolution Fish & Chips are dipped in a batter made with Absolution beer and is easily one of the best presentations I’ve ever seen – it’s served in one of their beer cans! Served with a side of fries and tartar sauce, they’re light and flaky with a satisfying crunch.

DSC_6769Photo courtesy of Gloria Plascencia Photography

The El Dude, a version of the White Russian, was inspired by the movie The Big Lebowski. The staff refers to this drink as ‘adult chocolate milk’ and it’s served in a glass milk carton with a straw. It was all creamy goodness and a huge hit with my fellow diners!

DSC_6782Photo courtesy of Gloria Plascencia Photography

The Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos are served in soft shells with chili slaw, queso fresco and cilantro crema with chips and salsa on the side. The fish was light and flaky and the crema gave it a slight tang. These tacos went down easy.

DSC_6744Photo courtesy of Gloria Plascencia Photography

The Brussel Sprouts Salad was my favorite dish of the evening. The sprouts are fine shaved and tossed with pickled onions and candied pecans in cider vinaigrette. This is an exceptional salad and one I can foresee myself craving. (I am so over kale salads.)

DSC_6745Photo courtesy of Gloria Plascencia Photography

Whiskeys have made a big comeback the last few years – we sampled the Old Fashioned. Made with Templeton rye whiskey, maple syrup, chocolate bitters and scorched orange oil, it was smooth and smoky!

DSC_6751Photo courtesy of Gloria Plascencia Photography

The Madrona Burger is made with Strauss Family grass-fed beef, Grafton cheddar, pecan wood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato and onion on a potato bun. The beef was exceedingly flavorful with the bacon adding a smoky edge. It is served with a side of veggies and onion rings. I enjoyed this burger – nothing strange or over the top – just a high-quality burger and very satisfying. For every Madrona Burger sold, $1 will be donated to Madrona Marsh.

DSC_6757Photo courtesy of Gloria Plascencia Photography

This is our friend Bryan Tsunoda from South Bay taking a bite out of the the Madrona Burger! It’s such a fun pic, I had to include it!

DSC_6762Photo courtesy of Gloria Plascencia Photography

The Pan Roasted Sea Scallops was the most inventive dish. The large scallops are served on a bed of ricotta gnocchi with mushrooms, peas and truffle butter, creating a stimulating combination of flavors. The truffle butter added just the right earthy note, complementing the seafood.

DSC_6775Photo courtesy of Gloria Plascencia Photography

The dinner came to an extraordinary conclusion with the 21 Square Tornado Sundae. A cart was brought tableside and Chef Victor proceeded to make nitrogen ice cream in less than 3 minutes. It was quite a spectacle! As he mixed the ingredients an impressive vapor cloud formed. He quickly added roasted peanuts, salted caramel, Nutella and bananas. Lots of flavor and textures – delicious and fun!

Video taken by J. Balestra

The mouth-watering finished product!

DSC_6799Photo courtesy of Gloria Plascencia Photography

21 Square is keeping it local with sophisticated, casual cuisine AND supporting the community. Stop by, have a bite and let me know what you think!

21 Square Bar + Kitchen is now open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers the Coastal Hour from 4 to 6 p.m. nightly featuring a variety of specials.

For additional information, visit the website at

21 Square Bar + Kitchen is located in the Torrance Marriott at 3635 Fashion Way, Torrance California 90503.

Special thanks to Gloria Plascencia for the fabulous pics!