Barbara Risrum Wood used to race single-person sailboats called sabots. So when she and her husband, Ralph, opened a seafood restaurant in Rancho Palos Verdes, they gave it her nickname, Admiral Risty. Twenty-eight years later, the Risty is still sailing along.
Although the Woods still have an active hand in the operations of the Admiral Risty, the daily job of running the restaurant belongs to Wayne Judah. Others may boast of resumes showing they've worked under Messrs. Girardet, Soltner, Robuchon and Troisgros; Wayne proudly claims his first restaurant job was burger cook at McDonald's. He joined the Risty in 1969 and advanced through the ranks to become a co-owner and manager.
Top billing on the menu goes to the day's list of fresh fish. Usually available are Hawaiian ahi ($20.95), Pacific swordfish ($21.95), Atlantic salmon ($20.95) and ono ($21.95). Ono, also known as wahoo, tastes much like albacore. Diners can order their fish prepared any of four ways: broiled, basted with butter and served with fresh fruit salsa; poached in dry vermouth with capers and sauced with hollandaise; lightly breaded, grilled and topped with toasted almonds and a light lemon butter sauce, and Cajun-style.
To accommodate customers with small appetites, the Risty offers some main courses in appetizer portions. Flank steak morsels ($10.95) are marinated for three days in a teriyaki sauce heavy on garlic and ginger and then char-broiled and sliced thin. A combination of shrimp and scallops is sauteed with garlic, basil and sun-dried tomatoes.
The Risty, though not open for lunch, does offer brunch on Sundays, when diners can take advantage of the ocean setting. It is not a buffet brunch but one ordered from the menu. The popular salmon Benedict ($10.95) comes with potatoes and steamed vegetables, along with a choice of two glasses of champagne or fruit juice.
The Admiral Risty is at 31250 Palos Verdes Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes, (310) 377-0050. Open Monday through Thursday 5 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 5 to 11 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.