One of my favorite shows is Iron Chef on the Food Network. While I would never attempt to cook any of the dishes I’ve often thought it would be fun to be one of the judges.
So recently I had the opportunity to be the guest of executive chef Kyle Schutte at the Vu Restaurant inside the “newly-remodeled” Jamaica Bay Inn in Marina Del Rey. My guest and I marveled at the various flavors he created as we sampled course after course. From salads and appetizers to dinner and dessert, each bite brought a new taste and flavor.
The Thai Mussels, served in individual spoons, was a visual and flavorful delight. Served with green curry sauce, Hamachi salad, coconut jello, scallion and micro cilantro, the flavors all worked together delightfully.
If you are a calamari lover, you ought it to yourself to stop by Vu Restaurant. Chicken-fried with pink lemonade mayo sauce, the Calamari was plump and tender, yet retained some of the chewiness that calamari lover look for. I have to say that it was the best I’ve ever tasted
The "Reconstructed" Caprese Salad features a cherry tomato inside the basil-infused mozzarella. Just let the juicy tomato burst inside your mouth and you will never think of salad the same way.
The "Pork Belly" appetizer is delicious, to say the least. The pork is sandwiched between what my guest called “the best grits she’s ever had” and root beer jello. Doesn’t sound like something you’d order from the menu? Well let me say, you’d be wrong.
Lamp Lollipops are a definite must for lamb lovers. They are sweet tea poached with rosemary and topped with a roasted grape relish.
The bar was exceptional. If your Mojito lover, try the 310 Mojito with Bacardi, mint leaves, agave and raspberry. It’s a cut above other Mojitos I’ve tried. Must be the agave. Also try the La Bonita served with Cazadores, agave nectar, strawberries and lime. I just can’t get away from that agave.
If you’re a beef lover, the natural Omaha Beef Tenderloin was just about the most flavorful and tender beef I’ve ever eaten. It’s served with butter-whipped purple potatoes and the plumpest and tastiest asparagus I’ve ever had.
Moving on to dessert, we were not disappointed. The White Chocolate Polenta with frosted flakes and chambord-flambeed berries was my favorite dessert. Be careful, the insides are hot. My guest was enthralled with the French toast served with strawberry jam, maple syrup ice cream & thyme relish.
If this is “Southern comfort food” with a molecular twist and a view of the boats in the marina, all I can say is “give me more. “ Chef Kyle is sure to make a hit here on the Los Angeles restaurant scene…and in a very big way.
In May of 2004, Kyle Schutte took an entry level kitchen position at the Tuscarora Mill restaurant in Leesburg Virginia, frequented by Washington DC's top 100 list. It was at Tuskies where Kyle realized it was the "whys" of cooking and not necessarily the "hows" that would prove most important for building a strong culinary foundation. It would be this foundation of the "whys" that he would focus on during both his time in school and throughout his career.
Kyle also worked at ONE Midtown Kitchen, one of Atlanta’s most influential restaurants. It was at ONE where Kyle worked under Executive Chefs Richard Blais (of Iron Chef America and Top Chef fame) and his mentor Tom Harvey.
In 2009, Kyle accepted the Executive Chef position at a new restaurant in Cornelius, NC. It was there that Kyle became the first chef in North Carolina to use liquid nitrogen and other contemporary cooking techniques, which quickly got him recognition and notoriety in Charlotte's up and coming food scene.
After a year of running his first kitchen, Kyle was ready for the big time and sought out the spotlight of the L.A. restaurant scene. In July of 2010, Kyle accepted the Executive Chef position at Vu. Kyle has brought his philosophy that great food should be both fun and sophisticated. Armed with liquid nitrogen, a unique culinary point of view and the uncanny ability to take the dishes you thought you knew and turn them on their heads, Kyle and his crew have brought a level of culinary excitement and fun to the L.A. dining scene.