World Culinary Tour, Or The Front End Of A German Automobile?
Mercedes’ Grille in Venice is a colorful eatery that boasts a delightful interior, a delightful bar, and a particularly delightful patio for the al fresco experience, and it was an al fresco business lunch that The Mirror’s art director, Deborah, and I indulged in recently, and delightful it was too!
Located only a few feet from the beach at Venice Pier, Mercedes’ Grille is owned and inspired by the delightful (word of the day?) Mercedes and it is the flair of a world traveler that is the evident theme here. Dishes are influenced by a swathe of global colors, ranging from Nouveau South and Central American, Cuban, Caribbean, and American, with even a slight nod to Asia, in a menu that is a veritable melting pot of these styles.
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner are all available from the menu that includes options of omelettes, a brace of benedicts, a list of Latin breakfasts, an array of appetizers, a selection of salads and sandwiches, and a medley of main courses, with chicken, seafood, lamb, pork, or vegetarian plates available.
Deborah, whom it transpired was more than a little familiar with this menu, chose a rather appetizing sounding appetizer, the Caribbean Tuna Pica (three crisp wontons stacked with diced ahi tuna sushi, avocado, green onions, cilantro, mandarin oranges and drizzled with passion fruit truffle sauce, $14.95), whilst I opted for the distinctly Caribbean, Caribbean Cuban Garlic Chicken Breast (traditional Cuban chicken breast covered in grilled garlic-citrus onions and Cuban Mojo sauce, served with rice, black beans and plantains, $12.95).
Service at Mercedes’ is hip and efficient, with our server landing a basket of fresh bread upon our table in seconds flat, and taking our beverage and meal orders smartly, without fuss. We had a few minutes prior to the arrival of the dishes to chat and enjoy the light ocean breeze and eye candy of passing beachcombers from this ideally situated patio.
Our dishes arrived at our table, and were delightfully (that word again?) presented with color and aromas abounding. The chicken breast was generous and tender, and smothered with very tasty garlic-citrus laced onions. The rice and beans were good, and generous in portion, whilst the plantains were superb, but somewhat rationed. Yes, I for one would have liked to have savored those plantain flavors with a little more opportunity for endurance.
Deborah’s Caribbean Tuna Pica was superb, and I am very gratified that she allowed me to taste it. This dish relies heavily on the simple flavors of fresh ingredients, united in harmony, and rounded off with a subtly sophisticated passion fruit truffle sauce, that added a unique hint of sweetness completing this seductive symphony.
The variety of Mercedes’ menu is exemplified by containing such dishes as the Gorgonzola Burger (8oz burger, topped with crumbled gorgonzola, and caramelized onions, with lettuce, tomatoes and pickles on the side and served with French fries and a mixed green salad, $12.95), Asia De Cuba Coco Chicken Fried Rice (stir-fried rice with Asian vegetables and water chestnuts, served with plantains and black beans, $17.95) and Fish Tacos (grilled or fried Orange Roughy, grilled onions, red cabbage, tartar sauce and avocado, served with rice, black beans and plantains, $ 15.95) all in one document. Many restaurants have made attempts at this fusion by focusing on preparing one style particularly well, but having the other themes as “extras” on the set, but, even though we only tasted a pair of dishes, they were completely different in character, and, I suspect that the rest of the players will all have equally prominent roles in this drama of culinary joy that is Mercedes’ Grille.
14 Washington Boulevard
Marina del Rey