UPDATE: added 2nd visit photos

Photo by: Paiche

13488 Maxella Ave
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 893-6100

Pre-Opening Lottery Dinner:

Tuna Tartar
Tuna Tartar ($16) – caviar, soy ceviche dressing, wonton chips

Rock Shrimp Tempura
Rock Shrimp Tempura ($10) – spicy chancaca soy dressing, rocoto aioli

Assorted Pickles
Assorted Pickled ($9) – mixed vegetables

Ceviches – halibut ($9), seabass ($8), yellowtail ($12)

Tiradito de Wagyu Beef
Tiradito de Wagyu Beef ($12) – seared wagyu, parmesan sauce, aji amarillo vinaigrette, black truffle

Tiradito de Paiche
Tiradito de Paiche ($10) – Amazonian fish, aji amarillo lemon vinaigrette, tamari, sweet potato mousse

Pacu Ribs
Pacu Ribs ($12) – Amazonian fish ribs, anticucho lime miso, zapallo puree

Saltado de Quail
Saltado de Quail ($19) – sauteed quail, five spice, rosemary rocoto dressing

Yuquitas ($8) – stuffed yuca beignets, manchego cheese, grated parmesan

Chicharron de Pescado
Chicharron de Pescado ($11) – crispy fish chicharron, lime yuzu sauce

Uni Shrimp Toast
Uni Shrimp Toast ($14) – sea urchin, shrimp paste toast, rocoto honey sauce

Amaebi ($12) – filo dough wrap, sweet shrimp, jalapeno ponzu dressing

Churros ($9)

Chicha RaspadillaChicha Raspadilla ($9)

2nd Visit:

Note – 20% all food & drink 2:30-5pm, all 7 days.

4/13/13 Happy Hour
Tiradito de Paiche ($10) – Amazonian fish, aji amarillo lemon vinaigrette, tamari, sweet potato mousse

4/13/13 Happy Hour
Paiche Wrap Lettuce ($12) – Grilled Amazonian fish, anticucho miso marinated

4/13/13 Happy Hour
Ceviches – sweet shrimp ($14), jumbo scallops ($12)

4/13/13 Happy Hour
Pacu Ribs ($12) – Amazonian fish ribs, anticucho lime miso, zapallo puree

4/13/13 Happy Hour
Calamari Relleno ($10) – stuffed baby squid, chorizo, aji pepian

4/13/13 Happy Hour
Arroz con Conchas Negras y Erizo ($18) – blood clams, sea urchin, risotto

4/13/13 Happy Hour
Tiradito de Kampachi ($12) – rocoto oil infused, yuzu onion garlic dressing, Himalayan block salt

4/13/13 Happy Hour
Chaufa de Langosta ($12) – lobster, mixed seafood, fried rice

4/13/13 Happy Hour
Pork Neck ($10) – grilled pork neck, gochujang, green onions

4/13/13 Happy Hour
Green Tea Coconut Cake ($12)

Cuisine City/Neighborhood Price Grade
Peruvian, Seafood Marina Del Rey $$$ N/A

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Mendocino Farms


Han and I met up with Kevin at the Marina Del Rey location of Mendocino Farms after I picked Han up from LAX on New Year’s Day Observed (since we all had the day off from work). Kevin, the sandwich connoisseur, spent over $1k on sandwiches alone in 2011, and most of that went to Mendocino Farms. So the place definitely has his stamp of approval. And when we went there for lunch, the place was packed. Still, the line moved along pretty quickly, and we got our sandwiches fairly shortly after. Note that they give a free sample of a side as you move towards the register to pay for your meal – pretty nice touch.

I obviously got the pork belly banh mi ($9.75). Come on, pork belly – how could I resist? I read that this was their most popular sandwich, and Kevin noted that it was his favorite one as well (and he’s tried almost all of their offerings). The description sounded extremely promising: “our Chef’s playful take on the Popular Vietnamese Sandwich with braised, caramelized kurobuta pork belly, housemade pickled daikon and carrots, cilantro, cucumbers, jalapenos, chili aioli on panini grilled ciabatta.” Kevin ordered one as well, in addition to another sandwich that was the daily special. Two sandwiches you say? Well, Han did steal half of one…

So how was the sandwich? For one that has pork belly, it didn’t feel heavy at all. I didn’t remember the pork belly as being all that fatty, and the panini-grilled ciabatta (or as Han would say, chababa) was well-toasted sans any grease. Just a good, clean sandwich. And the accompanying condiments were fairly true to a standard banh mi. Of course, $10 could buy me 5-6 actual banh mi sandwiches, but as far as bougie sandwiches go, this was very satisfying. Just a nice, albeit “Americanized,” reinterpretation of a classic, using higher-quality ingredients. This isn’t to say that I’ve moved on from what is arguably the greatest value item ever, but there is a world of banh mi outside of Westminster/SGV. Need to try some of the other sandwiches though in the future, because some of them sound very promising.


Kurobuta Pork Belly Banh Mi

Chris Hei grade: B+

Mendocino Farms
4724 Admiralty Way
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 822-2300

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The Cheesecake Factory

Chicken Bellagio

I didn’t realize how big of a deal The Cheesecake Factory was in Marina Del Rey until I pulled up in the parking lot. A big lot, valet-only, with dozens of six-figure vehicles being displayed. I felt small leaving my 1996 Toyota Camry. Then I proceeded to enter the restaurant, which looked like a damn yacht club, with the requisite ocean-side view and hundreds of patrons in proper attire. I felt small wearing my generic button-down shirt and slacks. This damn yacht club employed an army of servers who looked like they were getting ready to go to Diddy’s all-white party in the Hamptons.

Besides the unusually fancy setting, everything else about this Cheesecake Factory falls in line with all the other locations. Mediocre food from a vast menu served over-salted in a huge portion and marked up in price. I really have no idea what to order from here nowadays, so I asked the server to suggest something. He suggested the Chicken Bellagio, which is one of their specialties. Nothing special here, just a piece of breaded chicken served over some basil angel-hair pasta, with some prosciutto, parmesan and arugula on top. I was very full from this huge portion, but it was, as expected, very oily, salty and one-note.

My friend, who seems to love this place and chose it to celebrate his girlfriend’s birthday that night, raves about the jambalaya. Nothing special there either though. One positive note: the service was very good. Servers were extremely attentive and cordial. The server of the year there probably gets an invite to the all-white party, that’s why. But it was a bit disappointing, on my way home, seeing all the restaurants I would’ve much preferred to visit.

Chris Hei grade: C

The Cheesecake Factory
4142 Via Marina
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 306-3344

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