You’d never expect to find the essence of modern LA dining in a Hermosa Beach strip mall along the PCH, but that’s exactly what Jon and Jason Baran did with Baran’s 2239. At first glance the restaurant has everything you’d find along the glamorous streets of Beverly Hills—chic recipes with house-made ingredients and an exotic drink menu backed up by rustic industrial décor and the hip crowd to go along with. Look closer, however, and Baran’s 2239 stands out in an intriguing light.
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Their menu is limited, but each item holds tremendous novelty, complexity and attention to detail to the point where you wander how Executive Chef Tyler Gugliotta could even conceive of this many cool tastes in the first place. Amazing fried chicken, gnocchi nero with king crab and squid ink, and house spaghetti with chicken jus are a few favorites from a selection that fits new-age American fare well: everything fused with everything else. The ‘Indian egg’ epitomizes such an approach, transforming a scotch egg to take on lamb sausage, Indian curry and cucumber salad.
It’ worth noting that the menu is ever-changing. Chef Gugliotta seems to have limitless aces up his sleeve. Let’s hope that their bread is here to stay, though—the house focaccia is a must.
The drink menu is equally fun to navigate. On tap are many beers you’ve heard of in passing and have always wanted to try. Mother Earth peanut butter stout and Mammoth Brewing Co. double nut brown are just a few. They’ve got even more from the bottle and a wine list to go along with.
Like most new chic LA restaurants, Baran’s 2239 delivers small portions [i.e. pastas yield ~4 forkfuls], so enter with the mindset to match. Most people can get away with 3 – 4 dishes, but larger appetites will require much more. This place can be quite the costly trip, but for the South Bay crowd with means that would otherwise have to drive 30+ minutes for such an experience, Baran’s 2239 fills an important niche.
Benjamin Brown, MBA is a seasoned restaurant writer and consultant. Expert in F&B marketing, pricing, analytics, consumer insights and business development. Ben also writes a monthly restaurant business column, "The Bottom Line," in Socal and Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional Magazines.