Monday, June 17, 2024

FIRST LOOK: Inside Angel’s Share, Belmont Shore’s restaurant meets full-on whiskey lounge

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Angel’s Share—the newest restaurant that has already begun construction inside the former Tap House space in Belmont Shore—is a space that hopes to bring a little class to the Shore with a whiskey selection like no other, private chef dinners, memberships, and a setting that keeps it intimate.

So what, exactly, is Angel’s Share bringing to Belmont Shore?

Angel’s Share—referring to the small amount of whiskey that evaporates during the aging process, about 2% each year, which is why aged whiskey becomes more expensive the older it is—will be the work of restaurateur Jack Walls and his wife Amy Wu in collaboration with Chef Melissa Ramsay and mixologist Richard Nuon. And given its direct nod toward the whiskey distilling world—on the other end, the “devil’s cut” is the whiskey that is absorbed into the wood of casks while aging—there will be a heavy focus on whiskey.

“Japanese, Irish, Scotch—I’m a big Scotch drinker so there will be a lot of Scotch—bourbon, any and every type of whiskey will be featured,” Walls said. “We are going have a huge whiskey selection. Richard is working with Brown-Forman [owner of Woodford and Jack Daniel’s] and other vendors to get specially allocated bottles… We want this to be special.”

And it will all be across a black-and-gold theme that echoes a Gatsby-meets-Rat Pack vibe, where chandeliers are met with button-tufted booths—though don’t depend on the renderings entirely as things are constantly changing to meet their ambitious opening date.

As for the 32 beer taps that Tap House had installed to pair with their burger-centric concept, Angel’s Share will not be eliminating them at all: Walls says all 32 will be kept on hand but steer away from macro beers like Bud and craft-but-widely-available beers like Stone to hone in on beers that are not as easily accessible such as a variety of Epic’s Son of Baptist Stouts, Toppling Goliath, Burley Oak, Tripping Animals, and Russian River’s Pliny the Elder.

Additionally, they will have memberships that offer patrons early access to exclusive bottles, private dinners with Ramsay, and other perks—including special invitations to something Walls is particularly excited about: Their presentation “Cloud 9” cocktail series that will serve special concoctions in special packages.

“I’m really looking forward to our presentation-style cocktails,” Walls said. “These will be presented in boxes or some type of special way that makes the entire experience of a single cocktail something special—and, of course, Instagram-worthy.”

Angel’s Share will clearly have a deep focus on the growing cocktail scene—but what about the food?

The intimate atmosphere is where not just the cocktails will shine—but the food of Ramsay.

“I am going to bring in a lot of coastal vibes,” Ramsay said.

And that makes perfect sense: Her heritage harkens to the great islands of Cape Verde, Jamaica, and Scotland—so her love of the coast not only runs through her work but within herself given cultures she inherited. And with that, you can expect heavy on the seafood, absolutely on the seasonal, and—in a tease if there ever was one—”things you simply can’t quite find on the menus often in Long Beach.”

Until opening, that menu remains in a constant state of flux, creation, recreation, tinkering, fine-tuning, and all the weight of introducing a new concept to the masses.

“We’re doing small plates, Californian in style and influence, along with some island influence as well,” Ramsay said.

Angel’s Share plans a very quick build-out—as in they are hoping to open in Belmont Shore within a month

“Given how I operate a kitchen, how Jack wants this to move forward, and the amazing speed of this construction team we are expecting—that we will have our soften opening and family-and-friends previews by late May and early June,” Ramsay said, noting Angel’s Share was particularly blessed in that their transition was an asset purchase: Everything from the equipment to the license from Tap House was acquired, which means very little in terms of permitting issues and approvals.

And yes, they are aiming for a formal ribbon cutting June 6—and should the devil not get his cut and all goes as planned, that is actually achievable according to Ramsay and Walls.

If you’re meandering down 2nd Street, you can see construction crews already working toward making that dream happen. Meanwhile, we’ll be happily cheering you on toward your opening goal—and should it be pushed back a bit, don’t worry: We’ll still be there at opening.

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Angel’s Share will be located at 5110 E. 2nd St.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

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