Sunday, March 01, 2009

Versailles, Venice (February 16)

Versailles Cuban Restaurant
10319 Venice Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90034

Telephone: 310.558.3168

After our windy tour of Santa Monica, we headed back towards West L.A., near my sister's house, for my uncle's first foray into Cuban cuisine. Versailles, on Venice Boulevard, is a favorite of mine and my sister's, so it was a no-brainer for dinner. It was my sister's last dinner with my uncle before he went back to Korea, which made it a little sad. The whole day was a little bit of a farewell.

I must say, the exterior of Versailles is a total turn-off. It's not pretty or even skilfully decorated.

The interior's decor is not much better. To me, it looks like the Heinz people got ahold of their ketchup and mustard colors and smeared them all over the place.

You know what makes up for a restaurant that hurts your eyes?

Bread that tastes like they sprinkle magic on it. Their bread is unbelievably greasy and unbelievably good.

My uncle peruses the menu will trying not to let the grease from the bread slide down his hand. He gave up reading the menu after about a minute and a half, and I just ordered for him.

My sister is demonstrating what a Fu Manchu looks like with a straw wrapper.

Now she demonstrates what a tae (테) looks like. Normally made of white cloth, a tae is tied to one's head for stress or headache relief. If you've ever watched a Korean drama, you'll notice that some of the old-fashioned characters (the grandmother or the neighborhood busy-body) will tie one on when they're agitated or want attention.

My sister was just bored and hungry, waiting for the food to arrive.

The beer (my uncle tried Negra Modelo for the first time and liked it) also got a tae. My uncle found it amusing that we knew what a tae was. I guess we watch too much Korean T.V.!

When ordering at Versailles, there's an option between getting the rice and beans and getting the moros y cristianos, which is when the rice and beans are cooked together. My sister always gets the moros, I always get the rice and beans.

The rice, even though it's just plain white rice, is oddly addicting. I'm not at all sure what they put in it.

My sister ordered the garlic chicken. Our entire family must exude a garlicky odor because we eat so much of it (as do most other Koreans). I personally have a hard time even tasting garlic unless it's pretty strong.

My mom got the chuletas de puerco (grilled pork chops), which are marinated in some sort of acidic bath that gives them a unique flavor.

I got the chuletas de puerco empanisadas, which I consider the Cuban version of tonkatsu (돈까스). It's also marinated in the acidic bath, but then breaded and fried.

I didn't take a picture of my uncle's dish because, frankly, it was ugly! He had lechon asado, a roast pork dish, and while it's very tasty, it's not photogenic at all. The pork is marinated and then roasted until it's falling apart, tender and juicy.

Versailles puts fried plantains on all their plates of food, which I consider dessert. Yum.

The four of us ordered four dishes and had so much leftover food that my dad and uncle ate the rest of it as a midnight snack, just barely finishing what we had brought home. Versailles is always a sure thing.

It's also very close to my work. I try to steer clear so I don't end up reeking of garlic and onions all day, but it's not easy.

I am caught up with all my posting from my uncle's visit! Yes, I'm totally lazy and didn't finish until after he left. That's okay, he can look at the pictures now and remember why he should come back to visit again soon!

I'll try to stop posting dozens of pictures of food for a while, but no guarantees.