Half Moon Bar & Grill
22 E. Park Ave., Long Beach
Just in time to launch the 2017 summer season, Half Moon Café changed hands and became the Half Moon Bar & Grill. Extensive renovations were done, the menu was expanded, the selection of cocktails and beers was enhanced, and now there are more live music, specials and events. Owners are Kenneth Fee, and Brendan Donoghue, who also owns the Chelsea Bell Bar & Grill in Manhattan.
Only blocks from the beach, Half Moon is a fun spot to dine outside. The patio is comfy and ample. Inside, there’s a huge rustic bar area — unfinished wood and brick walls abound. Tables are unique, some crafted from barrels, others that flip back to allow more space for the live entertainment. In the rear is a stylish and cozy dining room lined with antiques, TVs, high-top wood tables and upholstered seating. When used for private parties, groups up to 50 can be accommodated.
The menu is a medley of specialty starters, comfort food, Irish favorites, and some entrees — both traditional and not. Appetizers are $7.95 to $10.95. Soups, salads, burgers, wraps and sandwiches, run from $6.95 for French Onion Soup, to $14.95 for Shrimp Avocado Wrap with fries, onion rings or a salad. Entrees are $14.95 to $21.95, and desserts, all $5.95. Kid-friendly options are available. Portions are generous.
We dined al fresco in perfect weather, enjoying a sampling of appetizers, to be paired with numerous dips — spicy Cajun mayo, tartar sauce, Thai chili, guacamole, marinara, salsa and sour cream. Potato skins were packed with melted cheese and bacon, and meatball sliders, a pork and beef blend, was served on a bun with shaved parmesan. Skewers, both the tender steak and chicken, were glazed in teriyaki and terrific with the sweet chili sauce. Quesadillas were crisp, stuffed with cheeses, grilled onions and peppers. Fish tacos offered mounds of blackened Mahi on greens drizzled with lime cilantro dressing. Half Moon buffalo spring rolls were stuffed with shredded chicken, mozzarella and bleu cheese.
Fish & chips were the best I’ve had yet — a crunchy exterior with moist cod inside, hand-dipped in beer batter, served with plenty of fries. Shepherd’s Pie boasted flavorful ground meat in their “secret gravy,” with fresh vegetables topped with mashed potatoes. Truffle Mac & Cheese was light with a breadcrumb crust.
Carrot cake and Crème Brulee cheesecake are among the dessert options. We shared Oreo cookie bash — white and milk chocolate cream, Oreo cookie chunks, and a dark chocolate drizzle.
Weekend brunch (Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) is $10.95 for an entrée, home fries, toast and fruit, or $13.95 with one brunch cocktail. Or, add $14 for two hours of “bottomless brunch cocktails.” Lunch specials are $9.95, Monday through Friday. Happy Hour -- weekdays, 3 to 7 p.m. -- features a $6 bar menu. Volleyball Specials are deals on beer buckets and appetizer platters. Right now there is live music on Thursday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons, and Karaoke on Fridays. Check the website for daily specials and upcoming events. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
• Fish Tacos
• Potato Skins
• Meatball Sliders
• Half Moon Buffalo Spring Rolls
• Fish N Chips
• Shepherd’s Pie
• Truffle Mac N Cheese
• Oreo Cookie Bash