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Cafe del Rey Celebrates National Crab Meat Day

Mediterranean flair is in the air with a few new crab dishes.

Did you know that March 9 is National Crab Meat Day? I doubt anyone gets the day off, but it's still cause for celebrating. I thought I'd get into the spirit by trying some unique menu items at one of my favorite local restaurants, Café del Rey in Marina del Rey.

If you haven’t been to this restaurant in a few years, you might not know that the restaurant now sports a heart-healthy menu of Mediterranean items. Executive Chef Daniel Roberts has been at the helm of Café del Rey for about 2 ½ years now, and I must say, his expertise at this restaurant has matured nicely since my previous visit when he first came on board. He’s obviously taken full control and his innovative twists really wowed my palate.

And since we’re celebrating National Crab Meat Day, Chef Daniel’s Mediterranean-inspired crab dishes are perfectly timed. They include his popular Dungeness Crab Cake that incorporates Lemon Zest Aïoli and Pickled Radish with a Jerez Sherry Vin as well as his seasonal Soft Shell Crab, which will be offered as a menu special next weekend.

We didn’t get to try the Soft Shell Crab, but I’m sure it will be a winner, if the Dungeness was any indication. It was really quite remarkable. I usually steer away from this dish, as crab cakes are often heavy, and have far too much breading. This crab cake was fresh and zesty, obviously made with more crab than anything. I like that.

To round out the tasting experience, we also had several additional items, all beautifully presented, and unique in their pairing of ingredients.

How about a Tuna Crudo Trio,  ($21) with black tea seared tuna, cucumber garlic chips, yellowtail, serrano and finger limes, and spiced tuna with pappadum? A nice medley of flavors with this one, with varying textures, tastes and spices.

Pasta lovers will dive into the Agnolotti of Mushroom and Truffle ($12/19) a rich blend of sautéed mushrooms, brown butter and grana parmesean. Yum!

I’m not much for meat, but the temptation of a Moroccan Lamb Burger ($15) was too hard to ignore. It wasn’t gamey, and a nice deviation from your standard Angus beef blend that I usually enjoy. Made with sheep’s milk cheese, tzatziki a housemade bun and flanked with harissa spiced fries, we all raved about this carnivorous treat.

Grilled Prawns ($16) were the caboose of our lunch specials, made with a zesty blend of curry cilantro marinade, black quinoa, accompanied with a vegetable salad, with harissa vinaigrette.

Café del Rey also satisfies those who want to taste a variety of dishes. Check out their Five Lands ($25) featuring a daily chef selection if five small dishes inspired by the coastal towns of the Mediterranean.

The grand finale was a dense brick of chocolate cake which helped me speed to my next appointment.

What more could a diner want than delicious food, a lazy view of the boats in the harbor, and a sunny day?  Thank you Café del Rey, for making my afternoon so memorable.

In celebration of Spring, CAFÉ del REY, will be hosting a special 4-course wine dinner ($75 per person++) with St. Supéry, a family-owned winery located on the famous Rutherford appellation in the heart of Napa Valley on Thursday, March 21 at 6:15 PM.

Executive Chef Daniel Roberts constructs an exceptional seasoned Mediterranean-inspired menu of dishes including Lamb Meatball Skewers, Seared Sea Scallops, Roasted Frenched Lamb Chop, Stewed Rabbit Saddle; and Vanilla Spiced Pavlova that compliments the flavors of each wine varietal ranging from 2006 – 2011.

Cafe del Rey is located at 4451 Admiralty Way in Marina del Rey.

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