For more than twenty years, ‘Killer Shrimp‘ has been an iconic dish in the Marina del Rey community of Los Angeles. The secret recipe, developed by 1970’s rock musician Lee Michaels, pays homage to West Coast surfer culture and has all of the components of a quintessential Southern California dish: something from the sea, a little spice, and a touch of rock-and-roll.
The dish, which Michael’s would prepare for his son and friends as they came in from a day of riding the waves, consists of large, plump prawns steeped in a rich sauce that is slow cooked for ten hours and seasoned Michael’s secret spice mix. The dish, aptly dubbed ‘Killer shrimp’, quickly transformed into a celebrity of its own.
From what started as a family recipe, turned into a small restaurant with only one item on the menu – Killer Shrimp. Since then, the restaurant has grown into a 240-seat establishment with a full bar and a waterfront view. The menu still features the signature dish, but has evolved to include a diverse selection of fresh seafood items, steak, salads, desserts, and crafted cocktails.
My family visited the restaurant on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. Upon arrival, we were greeted by friendly staff and seated inside near a big glass window which allowed us to enjoy the waterfront view.
We started the meal off with the Scallop Sashimi appetizer. Each scallop was slightly seared, swimming in melted butter and served with roasted, skinned cherry tomatoes. My little one couldn’t keep his hands off this dish.
Next up were the main courses. With so many delicious options to choose from, we all opted to try what they are known best for – seafood of course! The Lobster Roll was as delightful to eat as it was to look at. The sweet lobster salad was placed on a warm roll, served with a handful of crispy sweet potato fries and coleslaw, providing a nice combination of sweet and savory.
The Killer Paella, which is one of their best-selling dishes and understandably so, included many of the ingredients of the traditional version of the dish: saffron rice, andouille sausage, chicken, clams, mussels, calamari, and shrimp. But, like all things ‘Killer’, this paella has the signature kick of their blend of herbs and spices.
We were pleased to see that the kid’s menu featured a variety of dishes, including options for the more adventurous eaters like my own. The fried shrimp – dusted in Killer’s spice blend that was toned down for the younger palates, but didn’t skimp on flavor – is served on a skewer, and my toddler had fun devouring it.
The final dish arrived at the table amidst much anticipation. The waiter brought a basket of warm, soft French bread along with a piping hot bowl of the ‘Killer Shrimp.’ Now, since the original, there are different varieties to choose from: “pasta,” “shelled,” and “rice,” but we elected to go for the one that started it all. This version only includes two ingredients: the spicy, herbaceous sauce, which is actually more like a rich broth, and a few large prawns. But, in the midst of the euphoria, don’t forget to dip that French bread! After the first bite, you immediately understand why this dish is as popular as it is. And after you’re done, you’re already anticipating the next time you get to experience it.
Killer Shrimp also includes a full bar and a ‘Killer’ craft cocktail menu. Stop by for happy hour and have one of their signature drinks, such as the ‘Pieces of Eight,’ which is a revamp of the traditional tiki drink of the 1960s that originated in Marina del Rey.
The restaurant is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. and located at 4211 Admiralty Way in Marina del Rey, CA. The 5,000-square foot restaurant includes a full-service catering department and 275-person event space with a harbor view available for rental. To make reservations or inquire about an event email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 310-578-2293.