And I’ve got to say, his biggest success is that, frankly, you’ll notice nothing at all.The space is comfortable, the kitchen is large and visible through a picture window, the staff is as efficient as at any restaurant in town, perhaps even more so, for they seem committed to giving their best. What I knew about the newly opened Fourth and Olive in Long Beach, heading in for the first time, was that it was opened by a disabled Navy veteran named Dan Tapia, who had made an admirable commitment to hire other disabled veterans for at least 50 percent of his staff.With that in mind, he also committed himself to creating a space that worked within the bounds of their physical challenges.
They’re served by both the glass and the keg (for the table), brews with unfamiliar names such as Schonramer, Kostrizter, Weltenburgfer, Fruh and Schwendl, all from Germany, and St. Bernardus, Grimbergen, Bavik, Lefebvre and Troubadour from Belgium. Clearly, he’s found his place in the world.)And the beers do much to lubricate the experience. (If Adam the manager is there, he’s glad to talk about just about any dish and any beverage. The term, I believe, is well-curated. Service is casual and relaxed, even chatty. Even the California beers are a tad obscure.
Fourth St., Long Beach.Information: 562-269-0731, www.4thandolive.com.Cuisine: Alsatian French-German.When: Brunch, Saturday and Sunday; dinner, every day.Details: Beer and wine. Reservations helpful.Prices: About $45 per person.Cards: MC, V. ★★򽫝ress: 743 E.
FOURTH AND OLIVE
restaurant look either. This is a casual restaurant, with a menu that splits the difference between beer hall and serious sit-down eatery, no easy trick. (It’s not an L.A. The look, with its wide open spaces, a good bar for hanging out (though without a big screen), and an open-beamed ceiling, hews pretty close to the basic gastropub style.But there are also … wait for it … white tablecloths, which is very much not a gastropub look. The number of restaurants with tablecloths is about the same as those requiring ties and jackets — a vanishing breed!) Like I said, splitting the difference.
But then, Fourth and Olive was conceived as something other than the same old same old. And that it is. So, after thinking about the owner’s higher goals, it’s time to think about the many beers from Germany and Belgium that occupy a fair chunk of real estate on the draft beer menu, setting the tone for a restaurant that, somewhat unexpectedly, is built around the cooking of Alsace, the much disputed and very colorful region that sits on the borders of France, Germany and Switzerland.Expect the unexpectedThis is not a cuisine you might expect in the famously groovy East Village section of Fourth Street in Long Beach. I sure hope they can stick to it. This is a realm of ornate hamburgers, and manic Asian fusion, not of boudin blanc and moules frites. This is a fine place to get away from the food we seem to eat everywhere we turn, with no kale and no Brussels sprouts. How great is that?