This week’s review by Jonathan Gold of the LA Times tracks none other than Catch & Release, Jason Neroni’s ode to all things Eastern seaboard in Marina Del Rey. The beautiful space, reformatted from the Paiche days, is nautically-oriented and filled with sunlight, sporting a long open kitchen, bar seating, and patio to boot. But for Gold, there are darker issues lurking in the corners:
Sometimes a new restaurant, no matter how appealing, can come off as a bit arbitrarily conceived, as if its developers were playing a game of restaurant Mad-Libs...
Gold goes on to talk heavily about Sprout, the Bill Chait-involved restaurant group responsible for some of the city’s most ambitious and beloved eateries. He’s ultimately not convinced that so many great spots being operated by one group is good for the growth of Los Angeles’ food scene, and goes so far as to question whether Neroni wanted to open up a seafood snack shack himself, or if he was pressured into it by some unknown forces.
Ultimately, Gold puts the soapbox away in favor of a lobster roll and some cod chowder, saying:
New England-style seafood restaurants in California used to be judged by the succulence of their fried clams, and I knew people who would jump in the car the instant they heard of a possible contender in Ventura or Del Mar. Now the essential dish is probably the lobster roll, a subject on which any proper Massachusetts expat will be happy to lecture you for hours, and Neroni's version is wonderful
The Elsewhere: Darin Dines ducks into the new Petty Cash downtown for one of their preview dinners; Gourmet Pigs fawns over the new Esterel at the Sofitel Hotel; TimeOut gives you a food-focused game plan for FYF Fest this weekend.