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Stones Restaurant, Marina Del Rey Marriott

April 14, 2011

A couple weeks ago I was invited to a media dinner for Stones Restaurant at the Marina Del Rey Marriott. I always drive by this Marriott to work and have actually stayed at the hotel once. Situated right across the street from the beautiful Marina, this Marriott is modern and elegant. I actually used to work for Marriott Torrance and have always had fond memories of my time there. We went on a Friday night and was greeted by the Executive Chef Chad Roldan who explained that he had prepared a 5 course tasting menu for us. The menu now features more bistro style entrees such as hand-crafted sandwiches and mouth-watering burgers. B had his eye on the Stones Original-angus beef, blue cheese, bacon, onion, brioche, sweet potato fries.This is a cozy little restaurant perfect for a date night out, especially with their Glow Bar and Lounge right next door.

The Chef started us off with a trio of appetizers. On the plate was 2 pieces of grilled shrimp with orange marmalade, arugula and lemon vinaigrette, some grilled peaches and an arugula salad on top of the freshest mozzarella. I loved this starter, it was light and refreshing. The perfect way to start off any meal. B usually doesn’t like seafood, specifically shrimp, but he loved the sweet orange glaze on these.

We kindly asked if we could try the burgers even though they weren’t originally on the tasting menu. The Chef gladly brought out two samples of burgers for us to try. We had the Stones Original with angus beef and blue cheese, a combination you can’t go wrong with and for those craving non-red meat, they had a turkey burger with cheddar, jalapeno, avocado, tomato on a brioche. Also, the best fried pickle ever. The crispy skin from the breading was so thick, a couple bites was more than enough satisfying.

Our next dish was a New Zealand lamb, bacon, brussel sprout, green apple risotto. I usually don’t order lamb at restaurants because it can be very gamey which I’m not a huge fan of, but this lamb didn’t have that gamey taste at all. It was seasoned well and perfectly charred on the outside. It came with a couple little sides like the brussel sprouts cooked with bacon and the green apple risotto. I would have never thought of putting green apples in risotto but the sweet and savory complimented each other well.

After this meat heavy course I was happy to see a fish course. We had the John Dory with a popcorn crust, sweet corn ravioli, vegetable slaw. The fish was super light and flaky and with popcorn crust on the outside gave it some nice texture. The ravioli was stuffed with creamy corn and with the vegetable slaw, this dish was simple and surprisingly light. The perfect light meal with a glass of wine.

And if you can believe it, we had 2 more courses to go! The way to pace yourself at tastings is not to finish everything on your plate. I just wanted a taste of everything without overpowering my palette by eating everything. If I did, there would have been no way I could have gotten past the 3rd course. To finish off with the main entrees, we had the classic meat and potato dish. A juicy piece of filet mignon with yukon mash, cauliflower and demi. This is hands down such a great comfort dish. I could see myself coming to this restaurant and just ordering this dish with a glass of red wine. The demi glace was so flavorful and the perfect touch to the filet.

And finally, there was dessert. A classic apple pie with vanilla ice cream with a drizzle of caramel sauce and a chocolate torte. B loves fruity desserts like pie and I love chocolate so this was a great pairing. The hot pie was such a nice contrast to the cool ice cream and the chocolate wasn’t overly sweet. The perfect way to end a fabulous meal at Stones.

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