Editor’s Note: With this issue, longtime Gazette staff member Kurt A. Eichsteadt takes over Profiles in Dining. Thanks to Larry Hill for his contributions over the years.
Waterfront locations offer restaurants with a free pass: If the view is spectacular, they can get away with not having good food.
But that’s not the case at Tantalum, which has a great location and an eclectic menu.
Tantalum is located right on the water at the western end of Marina Pacifica. Virtually every table provides a daytime view of the boats on Alamitos Bay, the sunsets and the sparkling lights after dark. The addition of live entertainment six nights a week (and football on Monday night) makes this a popular stop in Long Beach.
A tastefully decorated walkway leading to the front door immediately immerses you in the Indonesian atmosphere. Bamboo and other plants, a rickshaw and other artifacts create a soothing feeling that helps transport those entering Tantalum away from the daily hustle and bustle to an environment suitable to relaxation and enjoyment.
By the way, the element tanalum can be found on the Periodic Table of elements. It’s described as “a non-corrosive metal found by the sea, known for its ability to absorb negative elements from the surrounding environment.
The view from Tantalum is not an accident, according to longtime general manager Kristen Schwarze.
“One thing people always say is I want to see the sunset. I want a table with a view. The way the restaurant is laid out, it’s pretty impossible to have table that doesn’t have a view,” Schwarze said. “We want to be new and fun, but we’re fun and fine dining together.”
The menu is American Cuisine with Asian Infusion. All the food is made under the supervision of JD Robinson and Nate Sherrill from fresh ingredients. A specials board comes out every night, featuring whatever is available that day. Signature items include:
Customer-favorite Yakiniku Calamari, which is quickly-fried calamari with toasted cashews and Shishito aioli. Shishito peppers are a sweet Japanese pepper.
Yellow fin tuna ahi with herbed rice and pineapple relish and Shoyu butter.
Wasabi-crusted filet with brown butter mash, shitake, mirin demi.
Tantalum Kobe Beef Burger, which comes on a brioche bun with Fontina cheese, avocado and tobacco onion.
Cabochon and Winter Squash Bisque with jalapeno crème fresh and cinnamon ciabatta crouton.
The wine list contains more than 100 wines. A staff mixologist-consultant adds new cocktails on a regular basis. Current favorites are the Asian Pear (Absolut Pear, St. Germain, fresh Asian pear, sparkling float, brown sugar rim), Typhoon Chill (vodka infused with peach and Thai Chili, fresh orange and lime juice), Tahitian Moon (X-rated passion fruit liqueur, raspberry vodka, pomegranate nectar, fresh pineapple juice) and Cooper Union (Red Breast 12-year-old whiskey, St. Germain, Ardbeg Mist whiskey, range bitters).
The entertainment schedule features DJs and live entertainment six nights at week (Monday night means football at Tantalum). Live acts currently on the schedule include Kristi Jo soulful acoustic, Angela Aldatz and Her Band of Gypsies, The Stonecutters and Beat Ventriloquists. It’s always a good idea to check an establishment’s website regarding live entertainment.
IMPORTANT TO KNOW
Tantalum has Happy Hour every day. Sunday brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Have an entrée with a Mimosa and you’ll get a second Mimosa for a penny. They have valet parking, but the large parking lot also is close by. The website is www.tantalum.com.
Tantalum opens at 2:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The kitchen closes at 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Last call is at 11 p.m. on Friday and 12:30 or 1 a.m. on Saturday. Sunday hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., with the bar open until 11.
According to Schwarze, a couple can expend to spend $35-$65 for dinner, with beverages extra. But, she says, “People can come in and spend $10 for two drinks and still have a good time.”
Tantalum Restaurant is located at 6272 E. PCH. For details, call 431-1414 during business hours: Mon.-Sat. 2:30 p.m. to 11 (later on Friday and Saturday), Sun. 10 a.m.-11 p.m.