MARINA DEL REY OFFSHOOT OF KILLER SHRIMP SERVES 24HRS A DAY
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Killer Shrimp and its spicy signature dish with the same name, as well as The Mermaid, the Hermosa Beach dive bar that Killer Shrimp rebranded, and now we’ve been won over by Killer Café, a restaurant and bar next door to the Marina Del Rey flagship Killer Shrimp that is open 24 hours a day.
And of course we’re really stoked that Marcos Tello, barman boy wonder, has once again created the cocktail menu, just like he did at Killer Shrimp and The Mermaid (and countless other top notch bar programs around town). Killer Café offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and exclusively serves the world famous Killer Shrimp secret family recipe 24 hours a day. I can’t think of a better late night dish after the bars close than the classic Killer Shrimp. And you can find it at Killer Café any time of day or night.
“We couldn’t be more excited to launch Killer Café 24-hours,” said Kevin Michaels, owner of Killer Café and Killer Shrimp. “We saw there was a massive gap in late night dining restaurants and we felt the proper high quality comfort food, serving Killer Shrimp, great service and delicious drinks at reasonable prices, we could open the doors to the late night audience and provide a tremendous benefit to the Los Angeles community. I have always wanted to offer my families secret Killer Shrimp recipe to fans 24-hours a day, and I feel confident that Killer Café is the perfect venue to launch it.”
Besides serving Killer Shrimp, other signature dishes at Killer Café include Killer Shrimp Pot Pie (yup, Killer Shrimp Pot Pie!), Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Chicken Fried Steak, and meatloaf—comfort food as good as it gets. During our recent visit for dinner, we asked Marcos Tello to make us whatever he wanted—and something good to know, the entire bar staff has been personally trained by Marcos so they’re as knowledgeable as any bartenders you’ll find around town. Marcos started with a classic drink called Tipperary made with Irish whiskey, Yellow Chartreuse and Carpano Antica, which was followed by a modern day drink called South Paw, also made with Irish whiskey. The night was off to a great start. Another great starter drink, no matter the time of day, is the Bloody Mary—a perfect blend of Karlsson’s Vodka, fresh lemon juice, and Killer Shrimp’s house Bloody Mary mix.
At Killer Café, it’s not all about bar food even though they do it extraordinarily well. I’ve never actually referred to appetizers as “buzzed bites” but this is the perfect grub to soak up alcohol or just blow off any kind of diet and overindulge in some fantastic fried fare. We started with the Fried Avocado with herbed remoulade and pickled shallots,
and the amazing Bacon Lobster Mac n’ Cheese Croquettes. Do I even need to describe these bad boys?
Fans of poutine will love the Killer Tots made with Killer Shrimp spices, Harris Ranch beef chili, cheddar cheese and chopped onion. Outrageous! Non-meat eaters can still get their over the top grub on with the Animal Tots prepared with spicy Thousand Islands Dressing, cheddar cheese and caramelized onions.
Because this kind of food is just screaming to soak up booze, we ordered the Killer Margarita, but to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t a fan. I’m not really a margarita guy anymore so the taste and sweetness didn’t do it for me. I also thought I was going to hate the Vanilla Passion made with Absolut Vanilla but I absolutely loved the jalapeño spiciness. This is a refreshing drink with bite.
For our entrees, we had to have the Killer Shrimp, which is served “original” or “shelled” along with a side of French bread. We opted for “original” which means it’s not as spicy, but just try and soak up the spicy sauce with your bread and you may be driven to tears when that spiciness hits you. So good!
The winning dish of the night was the Killer Shrimp Pot Pie, which I must confess is actually a casserole as there’s no crust on the bottom, but that notwithstanding, this “pie”, made with famous Killer Shrimp, fresh corn, carrots and potatoes topped with puff pastry is (dare I say it?) killer!
I was so looking forward to the Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner (seeing as Thanksgiving dinner is my favorite meal of the year) but this one disappointed. Made with fresh roasted turkey breast served with traditional stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables and cranberry sauce, the turkey was dry, the stuffing couldn’t even beat Stove Top (OK, fine I’m a fan) and this dish left me completely unthankful.
Another bummer was that they were out of the Homemade Pop Tarts (homemade Pop Tarts!) but the Fried Twinkies covered with chocolate, whipped cream and powdered sugar were a solid decadent dessert.
Brunch fans should definitely try Bellini or Mimosa, a blend of orange juice, Orange Curacao and Champagne, and of course the Bloody Mary. There are also two sangrias (Pomegranate, and Peach) to choose from, and the Mai Tai, taken from the original Mai Tai recipe from 1944) is perfect for day drinking or just to kick start your night. With drinks by Marcos Tello and killer comfort food at your disposal, time spent at Killer Café may bring about regret in the morning but you’ll have one hell of a time in between.
Killer Café is located at 4213 Admiralty Way in Marina Del Rey. Call 310-578-2250.
Story by Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy of: Killer Café