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Duck Dive rolls out new protein bowls

Pictured is the new Athena Bowl at Duck Dive. Photos by Chris Bashaw/22nd Century Media
Pictured are quinoa lentil cakes at Duck Dive.
Pictured is the tataki tower at Duck Dive in Malibu.
Chris Bashaw, Assistant Editor
3:48 pm PST January 12, 2015

Ollie’s Duck and Dive rang in the New Year on Monday, Jan. 12, with new specials and four new protein bowls to boot.

Colloquially known in Malibu as “Duck Dive,” the gastropub has a relatively unique foothold in the Point Dume Village off of Heathercliff Road as the only eatery of its kind in Malibu.

To complement that unique foothold, head chef Francesco Velasco said, the restaurant’s menu will now change on a seasonal basis to reflect which vegetables, fruits and meats are best available and in season.

“As the year goes on, the menu will change on a seasonal basis with new items and dishes, which are created to be paired with our artisan cocktails, imported beers and local Malibu wines,” said Velasco, who has worked as a chef in Malibu for seven years, nearly all of which were previously spent at Tra Di Noi in the Malibu Country Mart.

The time he spent catering to diners in Malibu, Velasco said, has made him aware of their daily wants and needs.

“I love the community here and I understand the necessity to have reasonably priced dishes with high quality in Malibu,” he said. “It’s important to understand what a community likes and wants . . . that’s one of the reasons we changed up the menu, but sometimes it’s hard to change it up because people like certain dishes that aren’t always available on a seasonal basis.”

While Mary’s Bowl ($13) has been on the Duck Dive menu for some time as a protein selection built around free-range organic chicken, operations manager Kaya Ramos said four more protein bowls will be added to the menu.

“One of our popular dishes was the protein bowl made with Mary’s Chicken, so based on that we developed the different bowls,” Ramos said, referring to requests he heard for lighter, healthier options at the gastropub known for its pub-style food.  “We base ourselves on a lot of local feedback and we hear what people say, and we’re trying to accommodate that people have asked for lighter items on the menu, and we’re trying to bring that to them with these bowls.”

In addition to Mary’s Bowl, Duck Dive will now serve a seafood-centered bowl (the Zuma Bowl), a chicken masala bowl, a salmon bowl with rice and vegetables, and finally a Mediterranean-inspired “Athena Bowl” ($17).

Named for the Greek goddess of wisdom, strategic warfare, mathematics and the arts, the Athena Bowl is probably as well rounded as the goddess herself.

 The dish centers itself around a Niman Ranch skirt steak. The steak rests among a bed of shredded Romaine hearts, Basmati and red quinoa, balsamic onions, bell peppers, olives, tomatoes, eggplant and a raita yogurt sauce.

Velasco, who crafted each of the four new bowls, said he understood the feedback the restaurant received for a lighter dish in Malibu, and crafted each bowl based on a variety of protein bases.

“I was trying to make something that gives our guests their protein for the day with some variety,” Velasco said of the bowls, which represent cuisines from around the world. “One of our popular dishes was the protein bowl made with Mary’s Chicken, so based on that, I developed all of the other bowls, including the Athena Bowl.”

Other dishes not to miss:

• Quinoa lentil cake ($9): This new Duck Dive dish features a trio of quinoa and lentil cakes resting atop servings of Greek yogurt and Athena salsa.

• Tataki Tower ($10): This new Duck Dive dish features seared albacore tuna, avocado, green onions, Fresno peppers, cucumber, sweet soy sauce, Sriracha and micro celery.