This week, Besha Rodell travels westward to Marina Del Rey's Catch & Release, a project from Jason Neroni and Bill Chait that took over the old Paiche space. Written almost like an epic tale or even a George R. R. Martin narrative, Rodell tells the story of how the place came together. But in the end, she's pretty much in favor of the restaurant, especially Neroni's more creative takes on what a seafood shack can create:
But if I were in the mood for seafood with Neroni's clever and slightly idiosyncratic sensibility, I'd come here. There's a salmon tartare that hews more closely to the silken meatiness of a beef tartare than any tropical tuna version you might have had. The pop of pickled mustard seeds and crunch of pine nuts mix with the fattiness of the fish and the yolk of a raw quail egg, adding up to something wholly original and highly pleasurable. A wild striped bass with fantastically crispy skin comes over a green swamp of "ocean herbal broth," heirloom beans, haricot vert and black kale pesto. Elegant, straightforward and surprising, this is like nothing you'd get at any seafood shack.
Comparing the place to a casual summer read than a kind of career-making "magnum opus," she awards C&R three lovely stars.
The Elsewhere: Bill Esparza highlights the banana leaf tamales at Watts's Tamales Elena, Patric Kuh has a featurette on Taco Maria's Carlos Salgado, and KevinEats appreciate Santa Monica's Mondo Taco.