A Light in the Attic
Late one night I got an urgent text from Charla. “Someone’s iPad was missing!” “Was it stolen?” “We are checking her Find my iPhone app to find it!” Sigh. She was going to be late that night, then. One of the guests of the wedding party at the Attic Restaurant in Long Beach had lost her iPad. Charla’s wedding photographer duties shifted as she climbed walls in search of the device.
There are few locations that are all at once romantic, elegant, hip and neighborly as the Attic, whether for a wedding, brunch with friends, date night, or a good dinner next time your parents are in town. No need to wait though for your parents to come visit. There is one word that should motivate you to drop everything and go there right now. That word is “poutine”.
Poutine is a richly braised gravy slathered over fries and daubed with cheese curds. Poutine, born in Canada, is why Canadians are so polite. I’m convinced that poutine is why Canadian travelers in Europe plaster their backpacks with Canadian flags. It’s not that they don’t want to be mistaken for Americans; rather it is their well-deserved way of saying “Burgers? Pizza? Donuts? No thanks, I’ll have my poutine.”
The Attic’s Short Rib Poutine consists of shredded chunks of beef braised until they fall apart, with cheese melted lovingly over spicy fries. That cheese and those fries cut through the rich, dense beef sauce. It is filling, and is a perfect combination with a glass or two of Argentinean Malbec “Llama”, on the wine list at the Attic.
Depending on your appetite, you can safely order a poutine and the Appetizer Sampler for two people. Topping your list of appetizers should be the Attic’s rendering of macaroni and cheese: Mac n’ Cheetos. You are never too old for your mom’s comfort food and this is no different. This one has the added benefit of Spicy Cheetos that are crumbled and sprinkled over the top. With the Appetizer Sampler, you also won’t stray far from the bacon-wrapped jalapeños or the fried green tomatoes.
If you have more people in your party, or if you are overdosed on that poutine after several visits, then order the Shrimp Scampi in its rich creamy White Wine Butter Garlic Sauce or the Curried Mussels. Be sure to ask for an extra portion of toasted bread to dip in the sauce, or you and your guests will be fighting over who gets to scoop up all that extra sauce on the plate. Yes, there is a lot more on the menu for you to work off of, but we haven’t yet successfully moved beyond the poutine. Maybe next time.
The Attic is a converted Craftsman home facing busy Broadway in Belmont Heights. Craftsmans are those beautiful mid-century homes built with much loving detail, quirky features, and odd spaces. They are a dream to live in, a museum piece, and an adult romper room all in one. A restaurant like the Attic would never survive in, say, an Eichler home, which is better suited for a something like a Jetson’s-era automat. No, if you can’t call a Craftsman your home, then you can at least call it your dining room for a few hours at the Attic.
The inside of the Attic is rich with the “home sweet home” feeling that only a Craftsman can provide, with its detailed wall moldings, broad veranda, and creamy walls. The hardwood floors echo with a creaking sound as you walk over 50-year-old planks – that creak may be the bane of homeowners everywhere but is one of the many, many reasons why I love hardwood floors.
In our many visits to Attic we only made it inside once. Usually we are outside, enjoying the ocean air, the warm sunlight reflecting off the white tablecloths while we eat – poutine, say – and sip wine, smiling around at no one in particular. If the sun has gone down then your white tablecloth will be bathed in the rich light from the strings of café lights overhead.
Again, I received a text from Charla later that night. The iPad was found. Where was it, I asked. Did someone track the thief driving away on a real-time map on their iPhone? In fact, it was in the iPad owner’s car the entire time.
The Attic is a good call for gathering with friends, as the long wait times often show. The back patio space has hosted parties, weddings, and even art openings. On a recent Sunday morning in early spring our little party sat in the back patio, Bloody Marys in hand, in a ring of chairs together with other people waiting for their table. It was our own community, as fun and welcoming as our table itself.
If you can’t wait for 40 minutes standing on the trafficky corner of Broadway and Newport Ave,, then give your cell phone number to the hostess and walk two doors down to E. J. Malloy’s Pub for a pre-drink drink before you eat. When you’re finally seated, enjoy the hipster vibe, the smart service and the friendly staff. Our server one night told us about her Etsy store where she was selling jewelry and accessories. You just never know. Still, if you happen to have your smartphone with you, keep it with you at all times.
3441 E. Broadway
Long Beach, CA 90803