A good Vu in Marina del Rey

Some friends and I stopped by the newly re-done Jamaica Bay Inn for lunch. My best friend and her boyfriend were frequent visitors here before. They would kayak down to what was there before, sit by the pool and have a bite to eat.

The restaurant is now called Vu and it is done in warm trendy and chic brown hues. The menu is modern and Chef dabbles in molecular gastronomy as well — who doesn’t these days — and several menu items clearly reflect this.

We started with Pork Belly ($9) served on a square of crispy grits topped with slice of root beer jello. I love a dish like this with contrasting textures. The grits are crispy of course with a slightly soft piece of pork belly and the root beer jello gives a nice sweet contrast to the other components.

BFF ordered the green curry soup ($8) with mussels, coconut boba and micro cilantro. My first reaction was that it was a bit overly salty but I did like the curry flavors. I’m not a fan of boba so not only did I not enjoy the boba but I also didn’t taste the coconut from it either.

Bison Carpaccio ($14) was one of my choices. Slightly seared, these thin slices of bison worked well with pieces of pickled shallots and celery root confit. A splash of extra virgin olive oil gave it a little more flavor.
But my favorite of the appetizers was the grilled polenta ($9). I loved the vegetable medley of asparagus, tomato, pickled red onion, on top of the polenta which, required just a little longer time on the grill. Otherwise, the colorful topping was the highlight of this dish.
The Calamari ($11) reminded of of the one at ECCO in Costa Mesa but here it is chicken fried and served with a black peppercorn biscuit and a brush of pink lemonade mayo for dipping the tender calamari in.
Our entrees arrived shortly after and there was a lot of food. Blue Crab Cakes ($18) with charred tomato, orange, brioche bread crumbs, is flavorful though not the best I’ve had, but again, I loved the pickled red onion, mache, and the highlight of the dish — mustard ice cream.

The fish and chips ($16) uses wild Alaskan cod coated in a malt vinegar tempura batter. The malt vinegar gives the coating a darker finish which may look like it’s been overcooked, but it’s only the vinegar’s natural coloring giving off that hue. A spicy tartar accompanies with a handful of lemon and tarragon chips

My favorite entree was the Rainbow trout ($18) which was cooked perfectly. The flesh was moist and flaky and I found the purple cauliflower absolutely delicious. I only wished the parsnip puree was just as good.

We were so stuffed by now but somehow we were still tempted by some of the desserts.

Buttermilk panna cotta ($8) was not smooth or creamy enough but the liquid nitrogen coke a cola more than made up for that. The little morsels of frozen cola was a great sensation on the palate but melted way too quickly leaving a puddle on the bottom of the bowl.

The piece de resistance of the meal was the Pliable chocolate ganache ($8). It looks like a bar of solid chocolate but when you put your fork into it, the ganache was soft, creamy and absolutely divine.The most surprising thing was the sea salt component in this dish leaving a salty sweet sensation in your mouth. The lime sorbet was both good on its own or together with the ganache.

This chic restaurant is a great place for lunch and brunch is also offered on Sundays with selections from both the breakfast and lunch menus. It is small enough to be intimate yet the patio is casual enough for stopping by with the kids for a bite to eat. No matter how you look at it, Vu has not only the food but the view and atmosphere to boot.

Vu, at Jamaica Bay Inn
4175 Admiralty Way
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
Tel: 310-439-3033

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