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dineLA October 2009: Ports O' Call

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Ports O' Call restaurant, which is in Ports O' Call Village in San Pedro, has an immediate strike against it. It is a common belief that restaurants with views always suck (cough Castaway cough). Even if in this case it is just a view of oil drums and tankers. Then to really make a seasoned diner nervous, they have weddings there. Like all the time. Sometimes two at a time. Would you like the pistachio-crusted chicken or the poached salmon with dill sauce? Stop running! It's OK. Come back. They have cake.

No, really, it's OK. It's actually pretty good now. My mom has always loved this place. Seriously. I have eaten so much mediocre surf n' turf here it's not even funny. But this time when we returned to check out the dineLA menu something was very different. Sure, there was still the vague Don the Beachcomber feel, with shells, shells, everywhere (I especially like the shell lamps), but the menu had been completely revamped. There was pancetta! And Thai flavors! The server said, "Yeah, well, we had the same menu for 20 years. The chef added all of the Thai stuff, and then the owner wanted to put in some catfish and things because there's nowhere to get Cajun food around here."