Catch & Release, the new seafood restaurant opening Thursday in Marina del Rey, answers two questions for those who follow the Los Angeles food scene. First, it's where Jason Neroni and his excellent food, which had been missing since the chef left Venice's Superba Snack Bar last June, have both resurfaced. Secondly, it's what happened to the location previously occupied by Paiche, Ricardo Zarate's former restaurant, which closed at the end of 2014.
The new restaurant is seafood-focused because although he is from Orange County, Neroni spent fond summers in Maine as a kid. Catch & Release is thus a combination of that East Coast nostalgia with California ingredients and sensibility.
Neroni got his L.A. start in the kitchen of Spago working under Lee Hefter and cooked in New York and Spain before coming back home to California to open Superba.
Catch & Release will have bouillabaisse and paella on the menu, as well as other seafood-centric dishes. Look for Parker house rolls; a spaghetti uni carbonara; Howard Johnson's-style clam strips; and a seafood tower with two dozen oysters and shrimp, a dozen scallops, a whole Dungeness crab, and a whole lobster. And for dessert, there are zeppolis.
The restaurant, designed by Studio Unltd, seats 120 and has bar seating and an outdoor patio. Tonight's service starts with dinner; lunch and brunch are forthcoming.
Neroni, who partnered with restaurateur Bill Chait and SproutLA in Catch & Release, will open the Rose Café this summer, also in partnership with SproutLA, as a renovation of the Venice institution.
Catch & Release: 13488 Maxella Ave., Marina del Rey, (310) 893-6100, catchandreleasela.com.