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Beach Gourmet: Shanghai’d in Fisherman’s Village:

Late on a Saturday afternoon in Fisherman’s Village, Marina del Rey, there is to be found a cornucopia of casual relaxation. Ice cream parlors ply their tasty wares, and a fairly decent jazz band creates a sonic backdrop, a handful of restaurants. One of these eateries is Shanghai Red’s, I and my culinary cop friend, Dale, visited this past Saturday.

Red’s is a very large restaurant, boasting three dining rooms, a delightful lounge with bar, and a huge patio for the alfresco experience. We chose one of the smaller rooms with a window table that gave us picture postcard views of the Marina as the sun set beautifully during our visit.

Our server was a smiling, happy, and robust chap named Azang, who soon furnished us with a pair of menus and some delicious fresh breads accompanied by equally fresh pesto and razor blade slithers of butter. The dinner menu at Red’s is very thoughtful and balanced, with seven starters (lucky for some), a quintet of soups and salads, a trio of pastas, a sextet of seafood options, a quartet of meat dishes, and a couple of combos.

The starters include some tempting tasters like spinach and artichoke dip (with tortilla chips, sour cream, and salsa, $8.95), crab stuffed mushrooms (with Hollandaise sauce, $8.95) and Shanghai Red’s sampler platter (calamari, spinach and artichoke dip, coconut shrimp skewers, and crab-stuffed mushrooms, $19.95) whilst the seafood section afforded choices that included fresh Atlantic salmon (papaya relish, beurre blanc, rice pilaf, and seasonal vegetables, $22.95), fish & chips (tartar sauce, French fries, and malt vinegar, $15.95), and Australian lobster tail with drawn butter and listed as available at market price.

From the meat section we gazed upon filet mignon (with crispy onion straws, garlic mashed potatoes, and seasonal vegetables, $28.95), 3/4 pound roast prime rib of beef (au jus, creamy horseradish, baked potato, and the now ubiquitous seasonal vegetables, $26.95), and the chicken scaloppine (with mushrooms, capers, lemon cream sauce and garlic mashed potatoes, $19.95). It was the latter of these that I eventually chose, whilst Dale performed her ceremonially and apparently legally required diet cop duties and went for the salmon, after doing a quick calorie count and toying with the idea of substituting everything bar the salmon for, yes, you guessed it, seasonal vegetables. Thankfully, reason and my hedonistic influence prevailed, and I was able to sample the dish in all of its tasteful glory.

And glorious it was with a delightful sample of ever-so-slightly seared salmon, a delicate papaya relish to add a subtle sweetness, gentle butter, and fresh French beans. Very nice indeed. My chicken scaloppine was also very good, with two generous filets, the mushrooms and capers swimming in an exceptional lemon cream sauce, and some supreme, homemade, and fresh garlic mashed potatoes that had a distinctly Continental tone, probably in order to go with the seasonal, I mean French, beans.

Shanghai Red’s was smart, clean, and, shall we say, mature in ambience, whilst the service was professional and attentive. The background music was somewhat unique, inasmuch as it sounded like a small and inexpensive 1970s transistor radio, which curiously had me thinking of some of the more normal scenes in the movie The Shining. The views available from many areas of this restaurant are of the million-dollar variety and are worth savoring during the golden hour, for sure. We were certainly tempted with the starters on the menu, as well as the stunning array of desserts that were presented to us at the end of our meal on a large platter, but, given the combination that my expense account would not revive a starving amoeba and my guest is a human cholesterol monitor, the bill of over 50 bucks, with tip, for two of us, and including a great cappuccino for myself, called time out on further expenditure.

I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Shanghai Red’s and could not wait to get back and spend some time writing this report for your delectation, but the real delight is visiting and enjoying the experience for yourself, I believe.

13813 Fiji Way

Marina del Rey

310.823.4522.

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