This week S. Irene Virbila heads to Catch, the former Oceanfront restaurant at Casa del Mar. The setting is more casual with a sushi bar in the middle of the room and endless beach views, and the food is more focused (if not slightly overzealous at times?let's go with the woman taking off the first thing she sees in the mirror analogy again), with chef Michael Reardon bringing seafood, and especially crudo, to the spotlight. Most of Reardon's dishes work, but Miss Irene goes soft on the chef ("he strains to come up with something different") when something doesn't. There's still hope:
Hotel restaurants have always had a tough time in this town. Unless they can boast a view or a remarkable setting like Hotel Bel-Air's terrace, they're almost completely under the radar when it comes to L.A. dining. It takes a unique approach and an interesting chef to get locals in the door. With Catch, Casa del Mar may have something that works for the first time in recent memory, and works pretty well.Whether it's the view or the smoochy couples, Miss Irene definitely has a soft spot for Catch. The restaurant gets two stars. Today the "S." stands for "summer lovin'" [LAT]
ELSEWHERE: Would Perry Mason really be a tattooed vegan today? Doubtful. But there's Mary's Secret Garden in Ventura or Cru in Silverlake for those that are. The OC Register checks out Tracht's in Long Beach. Plus, more love for Osteria Mozza; not so much for the "really gay Brady Bunch Brunch" at The Boulevard; there's always the Red Lion Tavern for Oktoberfest; Takami, sushi priced for the view; and hopping over to Hop Woo in Chinatown.