Location: 14160 Palaway Way, Marina del Rey, CA 90292 310.439.3033
Date: July 28 & 30, 2011
Rating: Interesting, but a little all over the place
My brother and I were out for our weekly lunch adventure and after Gjelina had a 45 minute wait we made our way to Vu, which I had tried a couple months ago for dinner.
I was a little surprised to find the lunch menu, PDF here, a bit “more conventional” than the modern tapas centric dinner menu.
“Green Curry Soup: Mussels, coconut boba, micro cilantro.” This was quite good. Fairly spicy, coconuty, definably rich. The mussels, boba, and pork lumps inside were like little prizes to hunt for.
“Seared King Cole Duck Breast Salad: mixed greens, goat cheese, dried cherries, chocolate-spiced cashews, red wine vinaigrette.” This was pretty tasty, the duck was good, and the various elements. But the mix was overall a little weird. I’m pretty sure there was sisho in the greens, as they had that distinct flavor. Now I like sisho, but the overall flavor profile of the dish was a little helter-skelter.
“Blue Crab Cakes: charred tomato, orange, brioche bread crumbs, pickled red onion, mache, mustard ice cream.” These crab-cakes were way over fried, and inside they were stuffed with tarragon. So much so that they tasted like tarragon cakes. This wasn’t ideal, masking the crab flavor (as did the heavy fry). No where near in the league of the crab-cakes from Houstons or Capo.
I also popped down to Vu two days after this with my toddler from some brunch as we were already in the Marina.
“Lobster Omelette: asparagus, shaved fennel, niman ranch pork belly, pommery hollandaise, home fries.” This wasn’t bad at all, but the overall flavor profile was again a little weird. The sour mustard clashed a bit with the sweetness of the pork and lobster.
Overall Vu is trying interesting stuff, but the chef is too wild with his palette. I’m all for crazy and interesting combinations and new modern techniques — really all over them — but they need to be employed with care. Dishes still have to work together harmoniously, which isn’t really going on here.