Friday, August 10, 2007

The Del

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.

The Del
119 Culver Blvd
Play del Rey, CA


foodette said...

Pabst on tap? That part made me laugh. In all, it looks like a nice, fun, casual restaurant. And, I am drooling over creme brule! YUM!

Anonymous said...

We checked out The Del after reading about it here. As you said, there was no signage. It was hard to tell that the place was actually open. There were no cars in the front parking lot. The only clue that it might actually be open, was that a few lights were on.

We split the burger and the fish and chips. Both were good, but not cheap at $12 a piece (the Miller High Life dude wouldn't be happy). The burger was as you described, and the fish was good as well. Big chunks of fish with out too much batter.

Oh, the other beers on tap were Fat Tire and Newcastle.

I'll definitely visit again to try some other items on the menu.

Anonymous said...

Also, I recommend trying Backstage in Culver City. Its just south of the Sony lot on Culver Blvd. Great food.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're waiting for the young and hip - I'm not! I loved La Marina and went there for many, many years. I personally am tired of chi-chi food, over-explaining everything in the dish and black walls, etc. I wish they had have turned it into another "Buggy Whip". We have enough L.A. foo-foo restaurants. Where can you get normal food?
For us, this was the end of an era, and we're not happy.


mSweet said...

Did this place ever officially open? Or is it still en congnito? I have been wanting to check it out, but haven't made it yet.

Anonymous said...

As a resident of Playa Del Rey, I was so excited that a somewhat hip/cool restaurant/bar was open in the area. You're right- that area needs a serious makeover. But with restaurants like The Del & Minotaur starting to take over, maybe it'll get better. Anyway- we LOVED the food. I got the homemade potato gnocchi. It MELTS in your mouth, it's so good. And my boyfriend got the cheddar burger from the bar menu. It also was cooked to perfection and to DIE for. It doesn't sound like the same one you had, but I loved it. I did notice more young people there, so hopefully this place will catch on. Also- the other dining room is open, it's very elegant. The waitress also said they are knocking down the wall by the pool table, and making a patio attached to it. So it'll be a fun place to hangout during the summer. Oh and there is a sign out now. But yes- the parking lot is empty, but only because it's valet only- which I think is a deterrent. They should allow people to park there for the mere fact that people will know it's open!

Anonymous said...

The food is great, but it seems this place is never open and I tried to go for lunch today at 2pm and they were only serving brunch until 5pm! Brunch basically consisted of breakfast foods and they refused to make the regular menu although 2 other people were in the place. Who wants eggs or pancakes at 2pm on Sunday?

LAkompany said...

Do they have anything that isn't fried?