Forget standing in line for 45 minutes on a sunny Sunday for a lousy plate of eggs at some beachside brunch joint. Bah!
Today, instead, I dodged the surly Gap Ad folks, and hied on over to Gaby's Mediterranean in Venice. I'd never eaten there before, but having read good reports on the place here at Chowhound, my anticipation was high.
This promises to be a verbose post, and I apologize, but in short: I like this place! Here's why:
The location is right off Venice Beach, adjacent to Marina del Rey. As a result, on a blue-sky day like today, the area was crawling with traffic. Cars, bikes, tanned rollerpeople...yeesh. Anyway. Gaby's has a bustling outdoor patio area, which I immediately figured would mean a long wait (Hello, Omelette Parlor!), slow and surly service, and so on. Nuh uh. I was wrong. We were seated right away, and throughout our lunch, the service was *fast* and friendly. Yeah, you're seated cheek-to-jowel with a bunch of other folks, but it didn't feel harried or annoying.
OK, enough of the logistics. On to the food. My date and I both had our tongues set on lamb dishes, but sadly, they were out of lamb by the time we arrived. Baaaa! So, we split a couple appetizers, and each ordered wrap sandwiches (me, chicken kebab; him, beef). The sandwiches (about $6) came with a choice of side (rice; fries; salad). Our appetizers were grape leaf dolmas, and some sort of spinach pastry (sorry, don't have the name).
What was tasty:
--the dolmas. Very nice! Bright lemon flavor, good rice-based filling. Generous serving.
--the sandwiches. Both solid. Not as stuffed with meat as I might've wanted, but that was OK. Mine had a pleasant, garlic-based sauce (akin to the Zankou paste, but milder).
--the olive oil/sesame seed dipping sauce and pita bread provided at the table. Good!
What was less tasty:
--the side salad. Lettuce, tomato, boring olive oil dressing. Meh. I picked at it, and then gave up.
--tabbouli. Well, this one is actually a matter of taste. The Gaby's version is long on green stuff, short on grains. So, if you favor that type, you might like it.
Overall, it was a solid dining experience. Not spectacular, but a very good alternative to the usual brunch fare.
If you tie the meal in with a promenade along the Venice canals, you have yourself a nice Sunday by the beach (sans eggs).
20 Washington Blvd.
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
Phone : (310)821-9721