Venice Ale House
Being from Seattle I tend to take every opportunity possible to be outside when the weather is nice. Especially in the middle of winter. That goes for dining, too. Something about eating outside makes the meal so much more pleasurable for me. So on my recent trip to the Los Angeles area with sunny days and temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s there was no doubt that I’d be eating outside as much as I could.
After landing at LAX early on Friday morning I meandered my way up the coast towards Marina del Rey, Venice and Santa Monica. I strolled around the marina, along the Grand Canal in Venice and then navigated my way to Santa Monica for a quick appointment to pick up the keys to the friend’s place where I’d be staying for the weekend. With my “business” completed I headed back to Venice and the beach.
Many of the restaurants along the boardwalk are touristy and the food is okay but not really great. Mostly you’re paying for the location and view of the boardwalk, the beach and the ocean. But since my last trip to the area a few new places have opened and they seemed more promising in terms of quality.
The Venice Ale House has been open a little over six months now – not quite long enough for them to have full alcohol privileges yet. Neither the friendly server nor I could remember what used to be at their location, where Rose Avenue intersects the boardwalk, but I am sure that the Venice Ale House is an improvement. After grabbing a table I looked over their organic menu offerings including a “brunch anytime” section, salads, sandwiches and a section devoted to items that paired especially well with the beer.
I ordered the fish tacos and chose wild shrimp for my fish. Salmon and tilapia are also offered. I was really impressed with my order when it arrived. The plate was a kaleidoscope of gorgeous color, there was a generous number of shrimp and it looked delectable! The description on the menu said the tortillas were made from sprouted corn. I’m not familiar with this term – although I get the concept – and wasn’t aware that sprouted corn is offered in several forms, especially as a meal or flour. After tasting the tortillas I’m ready to find out more about it though. The tortillas were very thin and, while warm, very flexible. As they cooled they crisped into the most satisfying nutty yet fresh flavor. The shrimp and other fillings were a little spicy, a little tangy and tasted as though everything was recently harvested.
After lunch I ordered a cappuccino. As odd as it may sound I’ve only recently started really embracing coffee and its associated derivations. I’m trying to broaden my understanding and appreciation for this beverage. The cappaccino at Venice Ale House helped that journey a lot. The coffee was rich and had just a little bite but was not bitter. I’d asked for Italian-style and the foam was a perfectly dry counterpoint to the coffee.
I have only one complaint and it’s a common problem with outdoor tables. The varnish used to weatherproof the Ale House’s tables is a little sticky, even when clean. But that means the tables always feel like beer has been spilled on them and not wiped up even when that’s not the case. While my mind knows it is just the table’s finish that is sticky, my arms and hands still tend to squeamishly try not to touch the surface, if possible. That constant tug between what I feel and what I know tends to prevent total relaxation.
Even with that little problem, I hope these guys are still around the next time I’m in the area. I’d love to sample more of the menu.
Venice Ale House
2 Rose Ave