November 25, 2020 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Beechwood Restaurant

From Yo! Venice Food Columnist Dorothy Porker:

Beechwood

As a fan of Top Chef, Bravo TV’s popular distraction of culinary sadism, I have made a point of sampling several of the menus created by the show’s alumni. Several of them have opened shop here in Los Angeles, with creative, personal, ever-changing offerings (Ilan Hall’s Downtown spot, The Gorbels, features a Scottish/Jewish fusion menu that reads like an inappropriate joke and never disappoints me) – and the newest recruit, Jamie Lauren, has brought her knives – and a cache of exotic spices – to our very own Venice, as the new chef at Beechwood Restaurant on Washington Boulevard.

(No, no – keep reading! I know what you think about Beechwood. We have – ahem – all thought that about Beechwood.)

While during later hours the bar scene may not be your speed, it was an enjoyable space for an early happy hour cocktail. I am the pickiest vodka drinker on earth, mind you – my version of a “gimlet” is super-cold Ketel One, straight up, with a smattering of fresh lime juice. And that first cocktail, in my opinion, is sort of like a first kiss – if it’s sloppy or weak, everything else that follows will probably be terribly disappointing. But I was pleasantly surprised and refreshed – whoever was mixing away behind the bar granted me a crisp, tart, generous pour; and the upscale after-work crowd filing in made for entertaining people watching.

Beechwood

The dining room, tucked behind the main lounge, is an intimate spot. While David Reiss’s preferred décor (Beechwood’s owner – also of The Brig and Alibi Room) has never been particularly appealing to me, it was refreshing to sit in a Los Angeles restaurant without having to scream at my fellow diners, or fumble with sign language in order to have a conversation. The first two appetizers – also popular on the bar menu – were fun to share. Jamie presented the Pimento Cheese, served with lavosh, as her “homage to white trash food,” which gave everyone a laugh but proved to be a refined little spread. Fluffy, garlicky, smoky, it delivered a delicate kick of spice – an excellent season-less snack, perfect with a beer. We also tried the Edamame, sautéed with yuzo (a Japanese citrus), big, crispy slices of garlic, and sweet charred chili. I appreciated how generous the seasoning was; the big punch of citrus and the slightly-sticky sauce were finger-lickingly savory.

Bruchetta

Bruchetta

Most of the dishes that ensued were tapas-style and easy to share with a group. While the traditionally American and Japanese offerings were decently prepared, they were fairly predictable: worth a bike ride, but not a drive. But where Jamie Lauren shines – and precisely why you should give Beechwood another shot – is in her Middle Eastern and Indian-influenced food. Her hand with exotic spices is more creative and practiced than some of the great local ethnic restaurants, and speaks to her willingness to go out on a limb and try a concept very different from her peers. A light, crunchy, refreshing Fennel Salad tossed with marinated Persian feta, apples, radishes, and a truly kick-ass combo of herbs and Meyer lemon was simple and so well-composed, I relished tasting the brightness of the delicious, fresh produce and the sleekness of the herbs. Twisting a traditional Bruchetta – also wryly described as a well-deserved “middle finger” to Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi’s vocal disdain for pairing fish and cheese – was light Spanish anchovy, micro basil, and burrata; all perched atop a creamy beet puree which not only looked appealing in color and texture, but offered a surprising earthiness.

Jamie’s Lamb Meatballs, deftly rolled with falafel-esque spices including bursts of cumin and onion, proved absolutely delicious and satisfying. A crunchy Curried Chicken “Nugget,” composed of sous-vide chicken mousse, Indian spice, and cilantro, was light on poultry flavor; but highlighted the cheeky flair of the menu, and was accompanied by one of the most delectable riatas I have ever tasted. A plate of decadent, drippy, succulent Duck Confit Tacos could’ve used a smattering of citrus, but were perfectly-cooked; pretzel-stuffed Jidori Chicken was a holiday treat with crispy seasoned skin, rosemary, and an Indian-style homemade mustard I’d love to spread on anything.

Jidori Chicken

JidoriChicken

The star of the meal was, without a doubt, the Kobe Beef Cheek. First of all – not only is it a generous portion and so-awesomely-tender-it’s-falling-apart-by-your-fork – it’s also one of the only cuts in Los Angeles county NOT seasoned with goddamn Japanese sauces! Hooray! If you’ve never had a tender bite of Kobe beef, swathed in Indian spices and served with Masala mashed potatoes, well – we have all been missing out, haven’t we? Funnily enough, there was something traditionally comforting about combining Masala and spuds; so even for a less adventurous epicurean, I urge you to give this plate of creamy, tenderized heaven a try.

Kobe Beef Cheek

KobeBeefCheek

Many thanks to Jamie Lauren, and a big Venetian welcome to the neighborhood! In a city teetering on the brink of soy-dom, I’m looking forward to popping in to Beechwood again soon, for an adventurous forkful of new Los Angeles cuisine.

Want your restaurant reviewed on Yo! Venice! ? Invite Dorthy Porker!

Beechwood Restaurant
822 Washington Blvd.
Venice, CA 90292
T: 310.448.8884

Happy Hour: Mon-Fri 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Dining Room Open and Full Menu Served:
Mon – Sun 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm

Bar opening hours are:
Mon – Fri 4:00 pm
Sat & Sun 5:30 pm

The Patio and Lounge Close:
Sun – Tue 11:00 pm
Wed & Thurs 12:00 am
Friday & Saturday 1:30 am

Related Posts

Local Restaurants React to New Dining Restrictions

November 19, 2020

November 19, 2020

Capacity in Los Angeles restaurants capped at 50 percent By Toi Creel Local restaurants are having to make some big...

David Myers Burger Pop up Comes to Venice

November 12, 2020

November 12, 2020

By Toi Creel Chef David Myers, who previously worked at Comme Ça and Hinoki + the Bird, has brought a...

LA County Considering Allowing Restaurants to Implement COVID-19 Surcharge

October 28, 2020

October 28, 2020

Plan would allow restaurants, breweries and wineries to add COVID-19 surcharge By Kerry Slater Los Angeles County is considering allowing...

Edify TV: National Greasy Food Day on the Westside

October 22, 2020

October 22, 2020

October 25 is National Greasy Foods Day. Here are a handful of Westside eateries offering delicious, greasy comfort food in...

Can You Make Tiramisu?

October 21, 2020

October 21, 2020

Learn the most important ingredients to create this classic dessert in this video with Sinners and Saints, brought to you...

Italian Restaurant Opens in Venice’s Former Chaya Space

October 15, 2020

October 15, 2020

Italian restaurant Forma expands into Venice By Kerry Slater A popular Santa Monica Italian restaurant has moved into space formerly...

Michelin Pauses 2020 California Guide

October 15, 2020

October 15, 2020

Restaurant guide says COVID-19 and wildfires forced decision By Kerry Slater The Michelin Guide has paused the announcement of stars...

Pie Season Is Here!

October 14, 2020

October 14, 2020

Learn how to make your holiday favorites with gluten free and vegan options in this interview with Sinners & Saints...

Edify TV: National Dessert Day on Westside

October 8, 2020

October 8, 2020

National Dessert Day is coming up October 14 so here are some Westside places with treats sure to satisfy a...

Renowned Wood-Fired Pizza in Venice Just for October

October 8, 2020

October 8, 2020

By Toi Creel Wood-fired pizzas have arrived in Venice by way of one of the most well-known pizzerias in the...

Beachfront Dining on Display at Santa Monica Group of Restaurants

October 8, 2020

October 8, 2020

By Toi Creel COVID-19 hasn’t just had an impact on the health of Santa Monica residents, it also has impacted...

The Window Opens on Ocean Front Walk

October 1, 2020

October 1, 2020

Popular burger joint expanding Venice footprint By Kerry Slater Popular Venice burger joint The Window at American Beauty has opened...

County Passes Grant Program to Help Breweries Who Say They Have Been Unfairly Shut Down

September 24, 2020

September 24, 2020

$10 million grant program approved by Board of Supervisors  By Sam Catanzaro Will a $10 million grant program be enough...

Two Venice Restaurants Make ‘Essential Los Angeles Burgers’ List

September 23, 2020

September 23, 2020

Eater LA includes Venice restaurants The Window and Hinano Cafe among the essential Los Angeles burgers. By Kerry Slater Two...

Edify TV: Making Al Fresco Program Permanent?

September 10, 2020

September 10, 2020

The City of Los Angeles’ Al Fresco dining program was implemented to help restaurants cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Now...