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Any Must-Haves @ Cafe Del Rey?

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cashing in on a eClub coupon (a flight of 3 wines) and a Cosmocard ($15 off) there tomorrow evening with Mom (having dinner @ the patio & watching the sunset!) ~ a cursory search here didn't yield any recent food opinions about the place, so wondering if there's any must-have (or must-avoid) from y'all.

Dessert recs (or don'ts) are appreciated too, since we both have a sweet tooth.

Thanks for the help! I'm looking forward at least to the scenery, if nothing else.

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  1. I haven't been there in a few years and have just made reservations for later this week.

    What I remember is... the menu changes, which is a good thing. They were always very cutting edge, using creative ingredients and listing them as a description of a dish, way before the current trend of the same practice.

    Go for what sounds good that night. I can only hope the kitchen staff has maintained good quality help.

    I have always loved that place, excellent location and usually very good food.

    Enjoy and report back!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Vickie McCorkendale

      I went on Thursday and while they have updated the decor the menu and service lacked attention to detail and skill.

      I'm afraid I won't be going back either.

    2. Also has been a few years, but I still dream about a lovely lavender panna cotta dessert....

      1. We were there 2 months ago, tried several dishes with another couple , won't be returning, even for free!

        1 Reply
        1. re: russkar

          Agreed Russkar, Cafe del Rey is an avoid for me too. The few times I've been to this place have convinced me that they go for food trend du jour at the expense of getting the food to taste good. Someone else chose this place for a client dinner a while ago and I have never gone back.

          Stick to the simple things on the menu, and enjoy the view.

        2. Despite the above....I was there last year. Have they changed that much??? Any fresh seafood and their beef "something" I'm sure would be winners. If you like martini's "cash in" on one of those. With Grey Goose...they do a beauty of a job. Don't forget to ask for a window table! :) KQ

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kitchen Queen

            thanks for the tip - actually I got a patio table! hopefully the seabreeze & nightfall won't be too cold!

          2. I recently had the Crab Melt... Which was like a Crab Cake Sandwich. It was Decadent... but SOOO good...


            1. The menu changes a lot and I haven't been for a while ... but the black bean soup was a must have for my wife and I when we went more regularly.

              We used to share an appetizer, a soup and a main course, IIRC.

              2 Replies
              1. re: PaulF

                Is the attached menu on their website current?
                Sampled two of Frank Fronda's creations last night at the Savor the Seasons fundraiser at the Palladium, and they were really good. Can tell he was trained in the Jean Georges tradition. Must get there soon for dinner.

                1. re: carter

                  I honestly can't tell.

                  My memory is that they used to print menus every day ... they actually had dates on them.

              2. Went last Wednesday, somewhat impressed -- though not impressed enough that I'd drive out from the San Gabriel Valley again (esp. around afterwork peak hours on a weekday).

                The decor was nice, though the sunset was blocked off by trees & other marina boats --- grrr...

                My companion ordered their sea bass & I opted for 2 appetizers, the crab cake and the summer truffle pizza. Only the crab cake seemed really exceptional -- a perfectly crunchy, not over-breaded, exterior - with lots of crabmeat and minimal binder and just enough spices/herbs.

                The summer truffle pizza was good -- a bit too greasy, and there really wasn't a good truffle flavor from it (it tasted more like a mushroom & caramelized onion pizza) -- which was a mild disappointment to my palate (esp. since I remembered those delicious truffle fries from Josie, but I digress)

                The sea bass, again, is good--not great. It's not particularly buttery/creamy that I expected of bass, but whether kind of gummy (overcooked? perhaps) and the accompanying sauce was not that remarkable either. I did enjoy the chopped up potatoes though.

                I will, also, give props to the delicious cocktails there. The mojito italia made with grey goose was very good (even though it was made with vodka, not rum) ~ and a few other drinks looks tantalizing, 'cept I was driving.

                Finished off the meal with a chocolate-orange ice cream sundae with bite-sized morsels of blondies. The blondies were really good, but was iffy about the ice cream (though this may be that I never cared much for chocolate-orange comboes to begin with.)

                The damage? $3.50 for valet, $12 for mojito, $14 for crab cake, $17 for pizza, $32 for bass, $8 for dessert, $3 for coffee (VERY good, by the way) -- (+ tax/tip of course)

                Oh yea, I also got a free wine flight for signing up on their mailing list -- which were a good half-glass (maybe a little more) of Pinot Gris, Sauvigon Blanc & Chardonnay -- all good for what they are (and would have cost $12 otherwise.) ANOTHER reason why I didn't get a cocktail.

                Thanks for the suggestions, all!

                1. what are blondies (dessert wise, of course)? thanks.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kevin

                    like (or as opposed to) brownies - but without the chocolate in the batter (so it's really like a cakey chocolate chip cookie bar - though there are blondies that are devoid of all chocolate)