Main Street has a new restaurant that is worth taking a special trip. La Grande Orange located at 1000 Main St. is one of the best places I have been to on this trendy, but quaint street.

It’s a lonely section of Main with very few commercial properties except Santa Monica Yoga Works. Therefore there is plenty of street parking and the space is easy to find with its large orange awning.

We arrived at 6:30 on a Friday night and were seated right away. There is plenty of outdoor seating with comfortable banquets and heat lamps that turned on when it got chilly. The large indoor dining room was also appealing with a small bar and lots of light coming in the windows.

Our server was very friendly and well informed and we never needed anything for more than a second before someone came to clear, ask us about what we wanted and suggest different items on the menu.

The food was fabulous. We ordered sushi rolls to start that were perfectly executed and beautifully presented on white dishes. We shared a large salad of butter lettuce with roasted beets, toasted almonds and chevre that had a delicious vinaigrette. I ordered their halibut entrée that came on top of a bed of caramelized fennel — to die for! The texture of the fennel was creamy and smooth. Paired with the crisp outside of the halibut, it was a winner. The portion was just right and also beautifully presented on a large white plate. My husband had their Ahi tuna burger that came with a wonderful homemade coleslaw and had avocado, tomato and lettuce on the bun. We both enjoyed our food immensely.

The atmosphere is very pleasant, whether indoors or out, and the place was bustling by the time we left at about 8 p.m.

They also have a to-go part that is busy during the day that serves baked goods, coffee and items from the menu. Before we left we checked it out and had one of their homemade chocolate chip cookies right from the oven that was finished with a sprinkle of sea salt — fabulous!

I highly recommend La Grande Orange for any type of occasion and hope they will continue to serve such high quality food at great prices.

In case you would like my version of a roasted beet and chevre salad try this and enjoy!

Warm Beet Salad with Endive and Goat Cheese

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 pounds beets, washed and quartered

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

3 tbs. olive oil

Salt, pepper, to taste

6 tbs. minced mint

1 tsp. lemon zest

2 heads endive, sliced into thin julienne strips or 1 head frisee can be used

1 bunch watercress, tough stems removed

5 oz. goat cheese

Procedure

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the beets on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

2. Meanwhile, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, mint and lemon zest in a medium bowl and whisk. Taste and adjust seasoning. Reserve 3 tbs. of the dressing in a medium bowl.

3. Dice the beets and add to the reserved dressing, toss.

4. Add the endive and watercress to the larger bowl of dressing and arrange on salad plates. Top with the beets and crumble the goat cheese over the top, serve warm or at room temperature.

Amanda Cushman is a culinary educator who has cooked professionally for 25 years. She teaches privately for groups of two to 20 students. She has developed hundreds of recipes for cookbooks as well as food magazines and Web sites. She can be reached amandascooking@gmail.com.

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