Second Course: 320 Main

Good fare makes the cocktails taste even better

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Chef Jaime Carrano lives this adage at Seal Beach’s 320 Main, dialing up the New American menu dish by dish to complement the long-respected cocktail program at Jason and Rebecca Schiffer’s dark-but-cheerful indie. A native New Yorker and veteran of Charlie Palmer and Bouchon in L.A., Carrano took on this pint-size kitchen a year ago. Since then, locals have discovered his talent for classic fare backed by rigorous technique.

Duck toast using excellent Crema Bakery bread (it’s next door) combines shreds of rich confit and a smear of goat cheese mousse with fresh fig quarters. Strapping meatballs in casserole are an escape from the Italian version. Two salads, Tuscan kale and grilled octopus, are nods to current trends. Give me the kale toss with pecorino, toasty pine nuts, hard-boiled egg, and anchovy vinaigrette. For dinner, try the flavor-dense hanger steak, cooked with precision. Or the sleeper cioppino with rich broth swamping sweet shrimp, clams, Price Edward Island mussels, and market fish. Oh, and Carrano knows pastry, so do consider dessert.

For weekend brunch, don’t miss crispy fried chicken breast, juicy inside, that so nicely complements brioche French toast with huckleberries and real maple syrup. Dishes Carrano dare not take off the menu include the mac ’n’ cheese, and Buffalo chicken tenders, so ideal for happy hour cocktailers getting $5 refills for their Moscow Mule copper mugs.

320 Main St., Seal Beach

Buffalo tenders, pork belly mac ’n’ cheese, beef meatballs, duck toast, Tuscan kale salad, hanger steak, cioppino, fried chicken and French toast, desserts, cocktails.


Photograph by John Cizmas
Photograph by John Cizmas

Cocktail Nation

Owner Jason Schiffer knows drinkers deserve a proper cocktail


The Schiffers buy 320 Main with a cocktail venue in mind. Fullerton’s iconic Continental Room and stints at Vegas restaurants were inspirations.

The Detroiter

Driven by autumn sentiments, Michigan native Schiffer builds this signature drink with apple brandy, Cynar, honey syrup, and Stone IPA.

Most Popular

Mayberry Mule with cucumber-infused gin, and ginger beer. And the Old-Fashioned, propelled by the “Mad Men” effect.

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