The Right Side of the Tracks

Crossings serves American luxury and style

Friday, January 10, 2014 | 11:22 am

I’m learning now that it’s always best to visit new restaurants empty and hungry, and just a touch behind schedule. You’re ready to eat, you’re excited and expectant, and the food will sometimes taste magical.

Like last night at Crossings.

Crossings is an upscale American-style restaurant newly opened on South Pasadena’s Mission Street essentially alongside the Gold Line railroad tracks. (Not to worry. I don’t recall ever once hearing a train.) Owner Patrick Kirchen, late of the Smith Group of restaurants (Arroyo Parkway Diner, Chop House, et al), has built a beautiful and luxurious setting that is gracious, sedate and inviting. Executive Chef Lalo Sanchez has fashioned a traditional menu with just enough twists and turns to make your visit memorable.

The Free Dive Scallop at Crossings.

We began with a row of braised short ribs, each wrapped in bacon, on a bed of toasted polenta, that was like an enchanting short minuet of salty, sweet flavor.

But it was the Free Dive Scallop that stole the early show. The magnificently large bivalve, grilled to a crispy crust, was served on a decadent bed of purple cauliflower puree (That’s the name of my next band!), with lomo embuchado and saffron, on a bed of proscuitto.  The delicate flavor lingered long afterwards, and though there was much to love in the meal, the conversation quickly became, “Yeah, but wasn’t that scallop great?” Yes, it pays to come hungry.

My entrée was a hearty grilled swordfish steak, meaty and perfectly grilled, and served on a bed of roasted corn salsa.  Tiny grilled shrimp and charred onion bits added to the delicious mélange.

Also joining us at the table was an impressive Filet Mignon, served rare-medium. Crossings is so new that they didn’t have steak knives yet, but they wouldn’t have been necessary. The meat cut like butter, and was smoky and flavorful. It’s served on a loaded mashed potato, and is pretty breathtaking. If that was the only item served, the evening would already have been a triumph.

Dessert was a pear and raspberry pie, with honey-lavender ice cream (Anyone can serve vanilla.), along with a Chocolate Crunch cake topped by a browned meringue. As with any great restaurant, it’s all about details, and that’s another one. Even the coffee is great.

The restored Edwards & Faw building is the perfect setting for a restaurant—filled most of the time we where there, but never noisy. There are essentially three comfortable dining rooms—one on the main floor, and two upstairs, separated by a bar. Their outdoor new patio, surrounding a 100-year-old Oak tree, will open this spring, as well.

Our server, Catherine, was knowledgeable and attentive, as was all the service, and Crossings is easily a place we’ll return to.

Crossings is at 1010 Mission Street. 626-799-7001.


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