Whenever Cindy comes to town, we always try to experience a new place. Today’s lunch was new not only for Cindy, but for me since Vu has just been remodeled and redone inside the Jamaica Bay hotel in Marina del Rey. Cindy had never been to the Marina, so I thought this would be a great location for her to see the small beach and boats that make up the charm of this area.

With indoor and outdoor seating that takes advantage of the views from two sides, the remodel has made the space feel open and inviting at the same time. Warm earth tones and casual furnishings make this a spot you would want to live in, or at least hang out in for a few hours.

It was a perfect Southern California beach day, so we opted for a sunny table which felt great for our later afternoon lunch. Cindy had the Vu Salad with roasted beets, mixed greens, caramelized red onion, corn nuts, baby tomatoes, beet vinaigrette ($9). The beet vinaigrette added some nice color and a slight sweetness to the tender greens and the corn nuts added a nice texture to this delicate salad.

We split the Calamari and we were surprised by the tenderness of the thick sticks under the crunchy chicken fry; it was so good I could have mistaken it for Abalone. The calamari was so good by itself the pink lemonade sauce was unnecessary (I also found it a bit too sweet). We never did get a black peppercorn biscuit, but it was a great dish as it was served ($11).

Being the carnivore, I had to order the Bison Carpaccio, which was mustard seared, and served with pickled shallots, celery root confit, peppercress, and extra virgin olive oil (which was lacking in my dish but I actually preferred it dry) $14. I loved the fact that this dish was on the menu and I loved eating it even more with the small contrasting bites of celery root confit and pickled shallots. I would come back here just for this dish.

We wanted to linger in the sun at the beach, so we ordered a dessert to share, the French Toast with strawberry jam, maple syrup ice cream, strawberry & thyme relish ($8). Although Cindy does not like fruit (go figure), she liked the strawberries on this dish because they were cut up into a minuscule dice. The French Toast was just the right amount of crunchy and tender and the ice cream was a nice treat for those who like their desserts a la mode.

Vu has a Happy Hour from 4-7 with bites for $5 (including a steak tartare) and drinks for $6 and on Sundays the do a reverse Happy Hour from 8pm-closing, so you might want to come by around sunset for a drink and a bite by the beach.

Service was good and the setting was comfortable, and in spite of the few menu/kitchen discrepancies, the food was worth coming for, even though the place is in a hotel. Valet parking is free during the day (please tip your valet), so come and enjoy the view at Vu.

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