Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Cuban twist on American classics at Mercedes Grille

Another weekend surf led me, my sister and her new hubby in search of brunch food. Just off the Venice boardwalk, on Washington Blvd. is filled with restaurants. Normally, I would steer towards something normal like Terrace Cafe. However, I opted for something new and a bit different; Mercedes Grille, a Cuban restaurant. It has patio and indoor seating. The patio was full so we sat inside, which actually work out better because the sun was in full blast when we were leaving the restaurant. The interior decor is mainly dark wood, and looked like something from a Cost Plus catalog. Despite the waterfall on the wall, it still feels very homey. And when you first walk in, you can smell the amazing aroma of the food.

The menu includes traditional Cuban, Caribbean and Latin food like ropa veija (beef stew) and jerk chicken. I started with a glass of Mimosa.

Venice Benedict. Cuban beef hash, poached eggs with hollandaise sauce. The hash, as expected, was heavy and a bit greasy. A little went a long way. It was spicy, flavorful, rich and beefy in flavor. It was served on a spiced cornbread muffin in lieu of an English muffin. I liked the sweetness of the corn bread and it tasted good with the salty hash.

Glass of sangria with my meal. Refreshing, delicious.

Cuban sandwich- Garlic citrus pork with fries. Garlic citrus is a very prevalent in Cuban cuisine. The pork was cooked well and not dry. However the sourdough bread was a little soggy.

Heuvos con Picadillo; eggs, Cuban hash, black beans, tortilla, plantains and rice. Nice platter of a variety of items. This is a good dish if you are trying to get a taste of many things.

Mercedes Grille serves unique breakfast with familiar American breakfast dishes but with a Cuban/Latin twist. It's fun to try eggs benedict in a different method. The service was good but it seemed as though there was only one waiter for the dining room. He was running around frantically, we waited about 10 minutes before even getting a menu or water, and I watched as my freshly made sangria was waiting and sweating at the bar for over 5 minutes.

Hits: location, hash (although it was a bit greasy)
Misses: a bit understaffed
Rate: ***

Mercedes Grille
14 Washington Blvd.,
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 577-0035

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