Friday, August 10, 2007
The old La Marina space on Culver Blvd in Playa del Rey has been changed over to a new restaurant/bar called The Del. Apparently The Del is owned by the same man who owns The Brig, Beechwood, and the soon to open Alibi Room. There is no sign out front, and the back dining room is still unfinished, but you can dine in the bar area from the regular menu and special bar menu. They also have a nice, full-sized pool table (with real pockets) in the room adjacent to the bar, and a private lounge area near the entrance. It was just us, and maybe three other tables of diners throughout the night, and some late-middle-age patrons at the bar, still thinking they are in the La Marina. I have a feeling once word gets out, the clientele will get younger and hipper. We ordered appetizers off the bar menu, which were all perfectly acceptable, actually outstanding for bar food, but just satisfactory for a nice restaurant. We started off with what they call "licked by the flames tarte flambe, bacon, oven dried cherry tomatoes, onions, mushrooms fromage blanc" ($10).
It is really a thin, grilled pizza. I have made grilled pizza before, but never this thin, and I prefer it over my naan style grilled pizza. The combo of bacon and onions were tasty, but it was oversalted. Then we shared the Ipswich fried clams with tartar sauce. These were good, but undersalted.
We moved on to the steak tartar (which, ironically, took the longest to prepare), which is listed on the menu as "traditional steak tartare, aioli, and potato chips." We read it to mean it can with a serving of aioli on the side for the chips, but it was, instead, mixed in with the steak. The chips were just a little too thick, and tasted as if they had been sitting around for a while, but the steak tartare was quite good.
I moved on to their hamburger. Called "the cow and the del burger, avocado, tomato, pickles, onions and fries" ($12). I was actually relieved to see it did not come with bacon and blue cheese. I had it served with nice, crispy, dark onion rings. The burger was pretty good, with a nice tasty char on the patty and the bun. They have a full bar, with beers like Peroni and Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap, along with some wine, but no wine list yet. They gave us two deserts on the house.
A nectarine tarte, with a nice, bright, lime flavor sneaked in, and a trio of chocolate deserts: chocolate creme brulee, brownie with chocolate cream, and a white chocolate filled truffle, all excelelnt, especially the creme brulee.
Very reasonably priced (bar menu $4-15, appetizers $6-10, main $15-26), menu of comtemporary American cuisine, with entrees such as halibut with chanterelle mushrooms, fava beans and corn puree for $22, and 30 day dry rib-eye steak with potato puree, asparagus, pearl onions and cabernet reduction for $26. The Del should be a nice, fun, bar scene, not unlike its cousin, Beechwood. It certainly is much needed in the bleak Playa del Rey/Meadowlands (oops, I mean Playa Vista) dining/nightlife scene.
119 Culver Blvd
Play del Rey, CA