A MARINA MAVEN FOR FRESH BEACH FARE
A Marina Del Rey staple for the past 16 years, Mercede’s Grill is a local favorite for people watching, dining by the beach, and, most importantly, enjoying delicious cuisine that you can always count on being fresh and as healthy as possible.
Owner Mercede Ahrablou, a fixture in the community—she also owns the intimate wine bar Bin 73 (located next door to Mercede’s Grille), as well as the nearby Aloha Inn—a popular bed and breakfast—is a former waitress who worked at many local spots for years gaining a vast restaurant knowledge before becoming a self-made successful business owner.
At Mercede’s Grille, where she is also Executive Chef, Mercede serves Nuevo Latino cuisine, including several different ways to prepare Latin food. It’s a mash-up of Brazilian, Caribbean, Cuban, Latin American, Jamaican, Mexican, Portuguese, and Spanish influenced dishes.
Some items on the menu offer traditional and fun beach fare, including fried calamari, oyster fritters, California mussels, crab cakes, and Caribbean tuna pica. The Lechon Cubano (slow roasted pork) is the star on the menu and considered a must try dish. Rice, beans and plantains accompany most menu selections.
During our recent visit for Sunday brunch, we sat outside and watched all the interesting and colorful folks heading to Venice beach—it’s quite the show, especially with a wonderful Bloody Mary in hand. We started with two menu favorites, the Venice Benny, a tasty blend of Cuban beef hash on top of spiced cornbread, poached eggs with Hollandaise sauce and sweet plantains, along with the Eggs Benedict—poached eggs served with Canadian bacon on a grilled English muffin topped with Hollandaise sauce, served with fruit or home style potatoes (get the potatoes!). These are tasty and hearty items, perfect for sharing or just enough for you to grub to your heart’s content.
The Black Bean Soup with Jack cheese, sour cream, cilantro and green onions is delicious and definitely worth trying; very satisfying. Likewise, the Sunset Jicarita Shrimp sautéed in tropical fruits and spices over plantains is a fantastic dish perfect for sharing. The shrimp are plump and fresh and the sweetness from the sauce and plantains is so spot on—just ideal as beach fare. It may be too sweet as an entrée but if you’re sharing, then go for it. You won’t be disappointed. And since we’re talking brunch, you can’t go wrong with the Blueberry Pancakes—fresh, fluffy and fantastic…go ahead and feast.
The party never stops at Mercede’s Grille, besides brunch there’s also weekday happy hour Monday through Friday from 4-7pm featuring $5 specialty drinks, including wine, sangria and mojitos; $3 happy hour beer; and $6 happy eats, including steak and salmon tacos.
“Every day is a great day,” is Mercede’s motto, and so she runs specials every day of the week, including “Manic Monday!” (all drinks with an “M” are half off); “Tuesday is Industry Night!” (7pm until close restaurant workers get 50% off all drinks); “Yeah, Mon! Wednesdays!” (Reggae all night! 3pm until close offering $3 Red Stripe Lagger, $5 Jerk Pork Tacos, and $5 Spinach Dip); “Classy Thursdays!” (3pm until close all bottles of wine are half off); “TGI Friday!” (Happy Hour extended to 8pm); “Weekend Brunch!” (Saturday and Sunday at noon offer $5 Bloody Mary’s, $5 Mimosas, $5 Sangria). Another fun special is half price Omelets weekdays from 8-9am. The locals love this special.
Mercede’s Grille is located at 14 Washington Blvd in Marina Del Rey. Call 310-827-6209.
Story By: Jose Martinez
Photography By: Paige Petrone/LAArtsOnline.com
Sun Photography: courtesy of Mercede’s Grille