Newly opened in May of 2012, Rhumb Line delivers some of the freshest dishes with one of the most beautiful backdrops in Ventura. From port-side seafood to fresh picks from local farmers markets, Rhumb Line combines down-to-earth dining with locally sourced ingredients in this unique Ventura harbor location rooted in distinct dining history.
Owners Sam and Karen Sadove inherited an infamous 50-year-old building with built-in appeal. It was the first building erected in the Ventura harbor and was home to several successful restaurants over the years. But it took the Sadoves by surprise when locals would peer in the window during the renovation process and beg to know when Rhumb Line was opening.
“When you start a restaurant you don’t expect the standing-room-only crowds during the opening weeks,” says Karen Sadove. “Due to the history of the place, we truly had a built-in customer base following us before we even opened.”
The strong following was a blessing, Karen says, so much that the restaurant does minimal advertising.
With 90 percent of the menu entrenched in seafood fare like their signature crab cakes, Prince Edward Mussels Mariniere in a lemon caper butter sauce and Channel Island Halibut, Rhumb Line’s name is apropos. The name is derived from a navigational term that relates to the path of a ship that maintains a fixed compass direction, shown on a map as a line crossing all meridians at the same angle.
“Customers frequently inquire about the name; once we explain it and customers pair it with our location among the amazing boats in the harbor, it clicks for them,” Karen says.
The harbor’s backdrop is the unimpeded focal point at Rhumb Line which has nine huge glass windows facing the water. When the skies are clear, customers can see the Channel Islands.
“Aside from the incredible view, we get quite a show from the water. We often see sea lions, dolphins, whales, and pelicans from the two-story building,” she adds.
Restoring the interior – once dark with heavy colored walls and furniture – meant sandblasting layers of paint from the solid Douglas-fir beams, lightening the walls, adding light, bamboo floors and gently interweaving the nautical theme into the decor.
Rhumb Line brought their chef, Sam Murchie, from North Carolina to infuse a Southern influence into their menu which changes seasonally. Chef Murchie takes on comfort food this fall showcasing dishes like stuffed pork chop with chutney and more.
While lunch and dinner are mouthwatering, Sunday brunch is a show-stopping event. Crème Brule French Toast with raspberry compote, Eggs Benedict that cleverly substitutes crab cakes for traditional ham and a New York Strip steak and eggs are enough to start the day.
The Sadove’s moved from the east coast to California just months before opening Rhumb Line. Shortly after they arrived, Jordano’s sales representative Corey Young, contacted the owners offering menu-building advice and even helped them find and hire their general manager.
“We had another foodservice supplier in mind, but we just never felt as good about their customer service as we did with Jordano’s,” Karen says.
Rhumb Line leans on Jordano’s for high quality desserts like the Crème Brule New York Cheesecake and to keep them supplied with shrimp for their Fried Shrimp and their signature Twisted Shrimp and Grits.
“We’re one individual restaurant...,” she adds. “...but I don’t ever feel like I get lost among the others; they take very good care of us and always get us products as soon as possible.”