Dining: Charcoal Venice Is Cookin’…

Charcoal Venice
Charcoal Venice

Eureka…finally enjoyed a delicious meal in Los Angeles.

It wasn’t perfection because ambiance and style were lacking, but at least I had my handsome husband to gaze at.

Charcoal Venice is a new restaurant in the vast culinary wasteland of Marina Del Rey.

Charcoal Venice is a neighborhood restaurant from Michelin-starred chef, Josiah Citrin, inspired by the backyard barbecues he hosts on weekends for his friends and family.

We lived in the Marina/Venice ‘hood for twelve years in the 1980’s and early 90’s.

There was nowhere to dine unless you were an undiscerning tourist.

Breakfast was about the only acceptable meal.

Venice Charcoal opened a few months ago with Chef Citrin at the helm. He opened Melisse, the Michelin-starred fine-dining restaurant, over 15 years ago,

Citrin has embraced the casual dining trend. It took years for him to settle into the former Macchi’s Bistro space on Washington Boulevard.

Chef de cuisine is Joseph Johnson, who was most recently sous-chef at Melisse.

Charcoal Venice photo:laeater.com
Charcoal Venice photo:laeater.com

The restaurant is nondescript and I am thinking the architect probably designed the Red Lobster.

As usual, the hostess was uninspired and was gracious enough to seat us by the bathroom even with a reservation.

In actuality, we were the best dressed diners in the restaurant…not a styling’ or sophisticated crowd.

Our server was the affable Christie. She danced us through the menu and noted her favorites.

I blinded trusted her and we both went along with her reccomendations.

Bandita Cocktail
Bandita Cocktail

Cheers. David ordered a delicious  house cocktail, Bandita with bourbon, dry vermouth and pomegranate ($12).

I selected a lovely glass of Nebbiolo from Piedmont ($15).

We were quite hungry, but decided against the roll and butter. The bread is from a local bakery and I am not a fan of the roll. Apparently, the french butter (Buerre de Baratte $6.25) is amazing, but we passed.

There are four sauces at each table: a vinegar steeped with spices, smoked paprika-pickled mustard chimichurri, red wine-chipotle barbecue sauce and a house-made A-1 sauce.

Yellowtail
Yellowtail

We commenced with a delicious Yellowtail “Kissed With Coals” comprised of kohlrabi and arugula dressed with a Meyer lemon vinaigrette…you had me at Meyer lemon ($18).

Grilled Calamari
Grilled Calamari

Our second starter was a Grilled Calamari with tantalizing Blue Lake beans, almonds and lemon breadcrumbs. Fabulous, crunchy and perfectly seasoned ($14.50).

Short Rib
Short Rib

Christie convinced me that if you were going to do meat and do not want to spend the $75 on the Wagyu beef filet then Smoked and Grilled Bone-In Short Rib was the way to go. It was terrific. Cooked to perfection. I couldn’t even finish it ($34).

Loup de Mer
Loup de Mer

The fish options were limited to Grilled Lobster ($65) and Loup de Mer with cilantro, mint, parsley and yogurt ($34).

David selected the loupe de mer, a fish we frequently eat in France. It was delicate and flavorful. The portion was plentiful.

Coal Roasted Carrots
Coal Roasted Carrots

The vegetables were also excellent. We selected Coal Roasted Carrots with Sheep’s Milk Ricotta, herbs, honey and black pepper ($12.50). It was a wonderful combination of flavors.

Yukon Potato
Yukon Potato

We also indulged in the Yukon Potato baked in the coals with salted butter, creme fraiche, aged gouda and chive ($12.50). Another tantalizing selection.

The food was top notch, but the atmosphere dreary. Charcoal Venice lacks personality other than Christie.

Leona Restaurant, which is just down the block from Charcoal Venice, is the other newbie in the ‘hood and we felt that the food at Charcoal Venice was superior.

It will be interesting to see if Charcoal Venice lasts on the unappealing Washington Boulevard.

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Charcoal Venice 435 Washington Boulevard Marina Del Rey/Venice, California. Open daily for dinner Sunday-Thursday 6-11pm, Friday 6pm-Midnight, Saturday 5:30pm-Midnight. Street and valet parking ($9). Reservations on OpenTable.com.

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