It’s always a special occasion for me to dine at Café del Rey. Just 10 minutes from LAX, this place provides a tranquil backdrop to LA’s hustle and bustle. Plop yourself down, and enjoy the many boats bobbing in their sweet slumber, while you feast on the succulent offerings from their seasonal menus.
This evening, we were privy to some of the autumn creations from Café del Rey’s new Executive Chef, Chuck Abair.
Abair earned his degree in culinary arts from the California School of Culinary Arts, Le Cordon Bleu in Los Angeles. His lineage includes such notable eateries as Water Grill, Providence, and Anisette.
Abair started at CAFE del REY in 2011 as the Chef de Cuisine, working alongside former Executive Chef Daniel Roberts. He then accepted a position with Morels French Steakhouse & Bistro, but has now returned to Café del Rey as executive chef.
All of Chuck’s creations reflect inspiration drawn from the coastal towns of the Mediterranean, sourced locally for optimum flavor and freshness. And who can argue with the Mediterranean diet? It’s loaded with colorful food, which is healthy in so many ways.
“This fall, I am experimenting with root vegetables like potatoes, turnips, and parsnips. Roasting really brings out all the sweetness and transforms simple produce,” says Chef Abair.
His winning personality set the stage for a festive evening of seasonal samples, complimented by a slew of specialty cocktails and wines.
Their housemade bread got us off to a grand start, flanked with a blend of capers, olive oil and garlic. I’m a slave to good bread, and when it’s good, I know I can count on the meal following in fashion.
Favorites for me included their Salmon, made with red chard, butternut squash, sage, brown butter and balsamic ($28), Equally enticing was the Lamb Osso Buco served over mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and pine nut gremolata ($33). My dining companions agreed. These two dishes deserved an encore.
Desserts were to die for, including their Huckleberry Pie, Ginger Molasses Cake and the Crème Brulee, all of us descending on the sweets like a herd of locusts.
If you’ve never been to this restaurant, you owe yourself a visit. The cool vibe of this place sets the tone for a relaxing dining experience. And unlike many of the restaurants in Marina del Rey that cater to tourists who favor predictable menus, Café del Rey is one of the few places that still gives me hope that fine dining can prevail, even in a popular seaside community.
Café del Rey
4451 Admiralty Way
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292