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Vu opens in Marina del Rey; Monopole Wine a solid addition to Pasadena

December 7, 2010 | 10:00 am

Last week saw the opening of an upscale new restaurant in Marina del Rey called Vu. It is often lamented that L.A. doesn't have better dining options along its waterfront flank, well now Vu is vying to change that with a menu of seasonal California fare crafted from sustainable, largely California-sourced ingredients (I know, I know, those terms are so often bandied about that they have all but lost their meaning!).

Options include small and large plates of sweet tea-poached lamb "lollipops" with roasted grape relish; Montana free-range bison carpaccio; chicken-fried watermelon (wha?!); pork shank with ivory lentil salad and poblano cream; and all-natural beef tenderloin with butter-whipped purple potatoes.

The 150-seat restaurant, with views of sea and sand, is helmed by chef Kyle Schutte who worked most recently as executive chef at a restaurant in North Carolina called XO. Vu, 14160 Palawan way, Marina del Rey; (310) 439-3032.

Although it's been open since mid-November I wanted to mention that Monopole Wine is currently charming Pasadena residents with its selection of wine from around the world (both known and rare bottles) as well as with its wine bar tastings and wine classes. (I keep hearing positive word of mouth so I figured it wasn't too late to feature it.)

The 1,700-square-foot space itself is unique since it's located next door to Elements Kitchen in a building constructed in 1927. A 25-foot ceiling, an iron-railed balcony, a red poured concrete floor, and four pendant antique chandelier lamps from 1960 make for an inviting spot to relax and sip away an early evening. Monopole Wine, 21 S. El Molino Ave., Pasadena; (626) 577-9463.

--Jessica Gelt

Photo: The view from Vu. Credit: Vu