A Place for Waterfront Vistas, Not Spelling Lessons: Vū Restaurant, Marina del Rey

by Jessica on February 7, 2011

Kid Hit Menu Items: Despite a chef who arrived in L.A. with an ambitious, avant guard agenda, Vū Restaurant in Marina Del Rey has a kids’ menu. And it’s not about extra tiny portions of uni foam or dehydrated bone marrow designed to initiate the young into the ways of molecular gastronomy, or whatever you want to call it. Instead breakfast/brunch is straight down the middle, with realistically modest portions of cereal ($4), fruit ($6), pancakes ($8), eggs/home fries/bacon ($8) and toast and jam ($4). An unadorned set of pancakes tasted quite gummy, and we had to wait a very long time for the syrup to arrive. For lunch and dinner, the kids’ menu switches to cheese pizza, pasta with red sauce or butter & Parm, PB&J, and grilled cheese (all $8), alongside sweet tea-poached lamb “lollipops,” crudos, and pork shank for the adults — or the little ones, who might be interested.

Adult Perks: Full cocktail program. Waterfront vūs. Oops, I mean views. A sophisticated, unconventional lunch and dinner menu in an unexpected neighborhood and pleasant setting.


Pros:
Vū is located in the Jamaica Bay Inn, so there’s lots of room to move about outside of the restaurant if you need. The restaurant itself is big and can accommodate large parties, and the vibe at brunch is very relaxed. Plus the restaurant has direct access to the man-made waterfront walking paths and a nearby playground. Because it’s in a hotel, the dining room open early and operates continually.

Cons: The décor, which suggests a hotel corporation’s idea of words like “edgy” and “urban,” makes it hard to forget you’re in a mainstream hotel restaurant in Marina del Rey. Service was friendly and nice, if not slow and disorganized.


Changing Station: Yes

High Chairs: Yes

Parking and Access: Easy complimentary valet at the lobby entrance.


Other Tidbits: Executive Chef Kyle Schutte brings a mix of experimental cooking techniques with his Southern culinary background to that bizarre corner of Los Angeles where Venice suddenly turns into Orange County, AKA Marina del Rey. (Sorry to pander to TV celebrity chefdom, but Schutte worked with Top Cheffer Richard Blais in Atlanta, if that helps provide further context.) But I suspect brunch isn’t the best meal to get a true sense of Chef Schutte’s capabilities and talents. A lobster and pork belly omelette ($14) didn’t impress, and my husband poked and picked at the watery and bland egg white fritatta. That said, I’d gladly eat an entire serving of those small crisp cubes of potatoes. And I’d be curious to try the small plates and dishes such as “reconstructed” caprese — in part to see how it compares to the other creative interpretation of caprese served across town — and Schutte’s signature chicken fried watermelon. The Vū experience is perhaps better enjoyed when there’s time and breathing room to fully explore the food and drink menus.

But since Marina del Rey is hardly a culinary Mecca, and attempting a big family Sunday brunch at any of the sought-after tables in Venice (Gjelina, Tasting Kitchen, etc.) does not sound like my idea of fun, Vū will certainly do. Especially since there’s the waterfront promenade right outside and that playground with visual proximity to the LAX flight path.

Update: Chef Kyle left sometime in 2012 to pursue other projects, and Vu has become Beachside Restaurant & Bar.

VU BEACHSIDE RESTAURANT & BAR


14160 Palawan Way, Marina del Rey
(310) 439-3032
Cuisine: American/Eclectic
Price: $$
Hours: : Sunday – Thursday, 6:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Friday – Saturyda, 6:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.

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