People who have visited Cuba from the United States have usually done so by way of Mexico. In the case with myself, Tom Hallick and Jin Jiang, his fiance, we did the next best thing. We visited Mercedes Bar and Grill in Venice, California.
This particular restaurant which has character with old rustic wood, skylights and the aroma of tantalizing cuisine has served the community of Venice for 14 years. Mercedes Abrablou the owner is a very dynamic individual and prides her Mother’s recipes which are used on a daily basis.
Beginning in our culinary journey, Mark Nicholson, and Nicky the managers, introduced us to our waiter, Alan Raber, who guided us on our selections of foods. The first introduction was Plantain Chip’s with garlic sauce and chipolata sauce. Together with Delorium Tremans, a Belgium Ale for Tom Hallick and my Mojeto, with mint and raspberry liqueur, it hit the spot. For starter, appetizers are the usual thing for a good conversation in our case.
Yucca Croquettes with sauteed shrimp in herbs and spices with yucca root was “really different” and “delicious” as stated by Tom Hallick. It’s really all about taste temptations which is exactly what makes Cuban food so zestful. Many Californians today are watching their salt intake.
In the case of our dinner, the spices add such a great taste that you don’t need salt at all. The cream corn Yucca Chipolata for instance and the Black Bean soup are very tasty, yet not heavy soups. The major entrees are light and large portions. The Fillet Mignon Sarpe stuffed with kale, caramelized shallots with a recling pinot was an excellent choice for Tom, while Jin had Pork Shredded Scallions, with an array of fresh sauteed vegetables.
My dish consisted of halibut in spices with garlic potatoes. Always with a festive atmosphere and an attentive staff, Mercedes is casual dining at its best. The restaurant also has a wine tasting lounge-Bin 73 which has a selection of wines from various regions of the world. The Argentina wines are excellent and sold by the glass. With our culinary journey coming to an end, Tom and Yin enjoyed the Espresso Flan and I had a rich Almond Chocolate cake for desert which is homemade on the premises.
Ah, surprisingly, we all finished our deserts. With all considerations for beach restaurants on the coast of California, Mercedes Bar and Grill is priced moderately. The service is excellent, the dishes are very exciting to the taste buds and the ambiance is that of a friendly casual restaurant atmosphere. Celebrity Scene News on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best, rates Mercedes Bar and Grill a 10, for reservations call 310-5770035