First Look: The Many Concepts of Playa Provisions

By Lesley Balla  |  June 3, 2014
Credit: Ryan Tanaka

The Gist: After the success of their other South Bay gastropubs, The Tripel and Hudson HouseTop Chef runner-up Brooke Williamson and husband/co-chef Nick Roberts didn't just open one more restaurant, they opened four - all under one roof. Welcome to Playa Provisions, Playa del Rey's new everything spot for ice cream, pastries, sandwiches, seafood and more. There's Small Batch, an ice cream counter; King Beach, a market for pastries, desserts, grab-and-go salads, sandwiches and other treats; Grain, a back-room whiskey bar; and Dockside, the full-service seafood restaurant. Right now, King Beach and Small Batch are open daily; Dockside, which is currently only serving brunch, will begin dinner service on Thursday, June 5. Grain will open nightly next week.

The Space: King Beach and Small Batch are more communal, with two counters in one room, big and small tables both inside and out and a lot of outdoor seating for beach breezes. Since it's more dinner-focused, Dockside has stylish leather and silver seats, chic light fixtures and its own bar. There are lots of natural woods throughout the whole complex with pops of color and big windows throughout for natural light.

The Food: As you can imagine, with four different dining areas, there is a lot of variety here. The main common thread is that the food has the same seasonal, comfort-food-ish slant as Williamson and Roberts' other two restaurants, along with big flavors, good ingredients and fun twists. It is important to know that although each place is under one roof, the menus are all different and bills are treated separately. Out of all of these concepts, as well as The Tripel and Hudson House, the food at Dockside is more elevated. Think pretty little crab-claw pops and oyster shooters with crème fraîche and caviar. Grain, too, will have its own bar-friendly menu when it debuts.

The Drinks: You can get beer, wine and cocktails at Dockside, King Beach and, of course, Grain. King Beach has beer, wine and sparkling wines on tap, in addition to Bloody Marys, mimosas and micheladas. Grain will have classic cocktails and an elaborate whiskey selection, including whiskeys that the chefs barrel-aged themselves. Fun sidenote: the barrels used are currently multitasking as wall decoration.

The Details: Located at 119 Culver Boulevard in Playa del Rey, King Beach opens daily from 7:30 AM-6 PM; Small Batch from 11 AM-10 PM; Dockside for weekend brunch 11 AM-3:30 PM with dinner hours debuting this week. Eventually, Grain will be open from 6 PM-2 AM, nightly.

Take a sneak peek of some bites and sights around the complex below.

  • Small Batch features ice cream, sorbets, pops, ice cream sandwiches and other treats all made in-house. It's meant to resemble an old-fashioned candy shop, with cake stands and glass jars filled with toppings like bourbon caramel, candied peanuts and hot fudge. Ice cream flavors include Thai tea, strawberry, dark chocolate and dairy-free coconut-almond.

  • Dockside's brunch sandwich has turkey, bacon sausage, Gruyère, fried egg, cooked collards, avocado and pickled habanero hot sauce all stuffed on ciabatta bread.

  • In addition to the savory items at King Beach, there are sweets and baked goods from pastry chef Kristen Feuer. You'll find cinnamon rolls, croissants, lemon cookies and more, including these little Funfetti cakes with buttercream frosting and coconut

  • Hit King Beach, the market counter, for cold-pressed juices, smoothies, coffee, cinnamon rolls and breakfast sandwiches during the day. For lunch, there are grab-and-go salads and sides, and things like this patty melt, a dry-aged beef patty topped with caramelized onions, Gruyère cheese and a housemade barbecue sauce.

  • Feuer's handiwork is also seen in this raspberry-almond galette, which is available at the King Beach counter.

  • Ice cream from Small Batch is used in desserts at Dockside, like this banana ice cream sundae with housemade hot fudge and candied peanuts.

  • Dockside is the full-service dining room, with as much outdoor seating as indoor, a brass bar and a fish tank that's really a window into the kitchen. 

  • Dockside's menu is more seafood focused, with appetizers like these oyster shooters with crème fraîche, uni and caviar.

  • Dockside's fried crab-claw pops - blue crab claws wrapped with snow crab and deep-fried - come with Old Bay mayo and pickled habanero hot sauce for dipping.

  • The shrimp cocktail is a cool and fresh treat by the beach.

  • One special dessert from Dockside is the pie, but it's not just a slice of pie. The seasonal fruit pies are served uncut, family-style and come with their own pint of vanilla ice cream. Right now it's beautiful blueberry. They suggest one pie serves four to six people, but we can see a couple of real pie lovers devouring this whole thing.

  • We can't decide if these are dessert or a starter for brunch, but the country biscuits at Dockside come with butter, creamy and sweet dulce de leche and fleur de sel.