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Surf and Turf

Entrees at Prime Time Steaks in Marina del Rey largely run second to the panoramic harbor view.


"I'd like a nice steak," I heard a German-accented tourist announce to the hostess at Prime Time Steaks, the new restaurant that has moved into the old Reuben's space on Admiralty Way.

A steakhouse with a view. That's one up on the traditional steakhouses, which tend to be dark, clubby places, inward-looking.

The design of the Marina del Rey restaurant is handsome: deep, comfortable booths upholstered in broad black and taupe stripes, window tables with woven leather chairs, and a Cubist-inspired mural depicting chefs cutting beef, the sommelier opening a bottle of wine, tables set with thick, blood-red steaks.

There's a nice, reasonably priced wine list. And the menu offers some twists on normal steakhouse fare. Shrimp are stuck into a lemony sorbet and served with the house cocktail sauce. Onion rings, big as bracelets, are "Parmesan-dusted." And the so-called Caesar salad features hearts of romaine in a sweet, pinkish vinaigrette, with strips of roasted pepper and pallid cherry tomatoes standing in for the anchovies.

The steaks, with a single exception, are all Midwestern, certified Angus. But only one--despite the restaurant's name--is prime. That's the Prime Time, a New York strip that has, at least according to our waiter, been dry-aged for three months. (The rest are aged at least 28 days.) But every one of the four I tasted lacked definitive flavor. The kitchen needs to reconsider the presentation and side dishes too. I doubt very much at this point that anyone is going to go home raving about the sugary corn tamales, leaden potato waffles or the even heavier potato strudel.

One steak defies description. When the waiter set the Black Eagle--Prime Time's special cut--in front of one of my dining companions, he was flabbergasted. "What's this, steak a la parakeet?" No mention on the menu that this sliced London broil came buried in a half-inch layer of tiny seeds, mostly mustard and caraway.

We shouldn't have been so disappointed, I know. Because this experience only goes to prove, once again, that the food is usually not the main draw at restaurants with a view.

And this one has a drop-dead panorama of the marina.


Prime Time Steaks, 4211 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey; (310) 827-8325. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Major credit cards accepted. Valet parking and parking in lot. Appetizers $5.95 to $10.95; entrees $16.95 to $49.95; steaks $20.95 to $29.95.

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