Restaurateur Ray Lasher and business partner and Executive Chef Raquel Jubran. Photos by Angela Yim.
While most places on 2nd Street are serving up hot plates varying from pizza and tacos or catering more toward a beer-guzzling college crowd, the newly opened Lasher’s Kitchen is far from the norm on the block.
After having sold the previous Lasher’s Restaurant to the now residing local gem, The Attic, long-standing restaurateur Ray Lasher is back with new flare.
“It was a great spot, but it was time for me to move on,” Lasher said. “I got an offer I couldn’t refuse from Steve Massis and the people at The Attic. The family was supportive because it was a good situation, we knew he would be very successful there—which he is. He’s done a great job in maintaining the property, he’s a good tenant—for us it’s been a win-win situation."
Fried green tomatoes served with cream sauce and topped with andouille sausages.
The original Lasher’s Restaurant was in business for 16 years on Broadway, after closing their doors the family stayed local but moved onto other endeavors before resurfacing this spring in one of the busiest neighborhoods in Long Beach.
This new location was previously owned by Diane Tran, who owns a number of Vietnamese restaurants and is Lasher's client through his restaurant consulting business. After a couple years of success, she wanted to move on. Lasher engineered a meeting and developed a buyout, but at the last minute the other client backed out of the sale.
“Not only was Diane upset, but I had spent a few months on this and was really invested on seeing it through, it was a really good deal, it was well setup,” Lasher said. “I negotiated with Diane that I would buy the place. And much to the surprise to many family members, I came home and said, 'We’re back in the restaurant business—here we go again'.”
Dungeness crab cake, breaded with panko served with a ginger beurre blanc and apple fennel slaw.
Lasher gathered a strong group of support from family, friends, loyal customers and the City of Long Beach. The Lashers took possession in January and opened their doors in May, although the concept may be new, the quality is the same and that is what has brought them much success since opening in late spring
“The concept has a little bit of the original Lasher’s; it’s a different style of restaurant menu,” Lasher said. “And yes, I have some of my older guests that miss the dark wood, white table cloths, carpeted and quiet restaurant, and that’s understandable. But we provide them with a lot of the same comfort foods, and some of the things that they are used to as far as the food goes. I guess the best thing we’ve been able to come up with is, ‘international comfort food.’”
Along with his wife, Lynn, being largely hands on with the new development, another important partner and the biggest influence for the menu comes from Chef Raquel Jubran.
“My [business] partner and executive chef, who was the chef at the original Lasher’s for over 15 years, she’s been exposed to many different cuisines both in her career and personal [life]. She brings great flavor background to the food.”
Cioppino, served in a herb roasted tomato broth, with seafood and shellfish, along with andouille sausage.
There are flavors and dishes from New England, Louisiana, Peru, France, some South American touches along with a few returnees from the original Lasher’s.
Chef Jubran is inspired by all of the traveling that she’s done over the last few years, especially drawing a lot of her inspiration from surf towns in the Philippines and Bali.
“I try to change the menu quarterly, with the season, everyday we have specials and try to not so much keep up with trends but see what’s going on around the L.A. area,” Jubran said. “Some of the things that we do here are strikingly different for some of the people here, and we’re here saying to just give it a shot.”
Although they aim to keep the costs of dishes under $20, they do have more extravagant dinners with a higher price during occasional specials and events.
“What we’re doing [here] is completely different from what is already here on 2nd Street. We dabble in comfort food that many of my guests love and are used to from the original, but we also try to push the envelope,” Lasher said. “We want to do seasonal menus, we want to have products in the menu that are both current, interesting and fresh.”
The current menu includes an original Lasher’s fan favorite, the fried green tomatoes that come served with a cajun cream sauce and topped with andouille sausages, a New England classic with a twist, dungeness crab cake, breaded with panko served with a ginger beurre blanc and apple fennel slaw and one of their seasonal specials is the cioppino, served in a herb roasted tomato broth, with a variety of seafood and shellfish, along with andouille sausage. And needless to say, they have an extensive wine list to match each palette.
Guests can expect more special events at the Lasher’s Kitchen like a prime rib Thursday, mimosa brunches and themed dinners in the foreseeable future.
“We were very much [at the original] Lasher’s a special occasions place, although we would have our regulars that would come in more frequently, it was a wonderful place [to celebrate] Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays, graduations, it really was a special occasion place,” Lasher recalls. “We’re aiming for this restaurant to be more of a neighborhood place – where the dining is still great, service is spot on, but the food is approachable, fun and interesting. [That way] if you come once or twice a week, you won’t be bored.”
Lasher's Kitchen is located at 5295 East 2nd Street.