It's the attack of zombie Killer Shrimp! The dearly-departed restaurant resurrects tomorrow, September 1. This writer unwittingly stumbled into yesterday's friends-and-family soft-open, and was graciously treated to a lunch despite being neither.
The new location on the water in Marina del Rey once housed Organic Panificio and is around the corner from Killer Shrimp's former location. A massive new space called for a much-expanded menu that once comprised only of their namesake shrimp served in three ways. Lee and Kevin Michaels still own the restaurant, and that shrimp? Still made with the family recipe and exactly the same as you remember it.
For the uninitiated, Killer Shrimp's version of a Cajun shrimp boil starts with a spicy broth of garlic, cayenne, rosemary, thyme, butter, and a pot full of secret spices that's simmered for 10 hours before your shrimp are cooked in it. Each serving contains a half-pound of large shrimp (26 -30's, in industry terms). A colander of bread is included so you can soak up all that pungent broth.
Why did the two old locations in Marina del Rey and Studio City
close? According to General Manager Paul Cerrito, "all the leases
matured roughly around the same time and they had the idea of looking
for a bigger, better location. So rather than renew, they decided to
close down and took time to look around."
Killer Shrimp's old space on Washington Boulevard was a hole in the wall on the second floor of a strip mall. It was a somewhat divey restaurant that made only one dish, yet enjoyed a rabidly loyal following.
Now? Not so divey, and not so limited a menu. The beautiful new restaurant can seat roughly 225, with two private rooms that can seat 125 and 400 respectively. They have a gorgeous bar where all juices are fresh-squeezed, and they make their own syrups and infused vodkas. Like any L.A. restaurant with ambitions of hosting a scene, they have a consulting mixologist and signature cocktails like a rum-passion-fruit-pineapple cocktail According to Cerrito, they're the only restaurant in the marina with their own dock, so boaters can tie up without a long schlep.
The appetizers include mini crab cakes, shrimp cocktail, lobster mac and cheese, steamed clams in a garlic broth, just to name a few select seafood items. In case anyone wants something other than the signature dish, entrees include seafood items like a lobster roll, crab cake BLT as well as land protein, such as a ribeye steak and filet mignon.
Our group didn't get a chance to try any other entrees, but based on the strength of the shrimp cocktail (large, perfectly cooked shrimp in sauce with enough horseradish to cure the flu) and the crab cake appetizers, it's clear they're serious about keeping the new room full at all times.
Some old-timers will pine for the days when it was "their" little place. That place is long-gone, but they can reminisce every Monday when the price for the original shrimp with bread rolls back to $9.95 instead of $15. While in whiny-hipster mode about how the original place was better, try to keep a straight face when you say how the view of that strip mall parking lot was sooo much better than the view of the marina.
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