May 29, 2022 #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

in Dining
Related Posts

Pudding Concept Feeds LA’s Curious, Dessert Connoisseurs

May 25, 2022

May 25, 2022

By Susan Payne A fairly new trend has made Los Angeles a three-time permanent home, giving dessert connoisseurs a taste...

Coffee + Bike Shop Opening Venice Location

May 11, 2022

May 11, 2022

Super Domestic coming to Main Street in Venice  By Dolores Quintana Super Domestic Coffee and bicycles will be opening a...

Hurry Curry Reopens in Santa Monica

May 11, 2022

May 11, 2022

Longtime Sawtelle restaurant back in business By Dolores Quintana Westside favorite Hurry Curry has opened officially in Santa Monica at...

Team Behind Dear John’s Opening Seafood Spot in Marina del Rey

May 11, 2022

May 11, 2022

Dear Jane’s coming to former Charthouse space By Dolores Quintana Marina del Rey’s burgeoning waterfront is getting yet another restaurant...

Popular Playa Vista Cafe Expanding to Hollywood

May 11, 2022

May 11, 2022

Santa Monica and Playa Vista restaurant Cafe Ruisseau opening on Selma Avenue By Dolores QUitana Cafe Ruisseau will be expanding...

A Westwood Restaurant Serves 94,500 Individual Meals to Local Seniors During the Pandemic. But They Aren’t Stopping There

May 4, 2022

May 4, 2022

Delphi Greek celebrates 36 years in business with more to come By Susan Payne  A “welcome” sign in Greek letters...

Vegan Burger Joint Now Open in Venice

May 4, 2022

May 4, 2022

Honeybee Burger up and running on Lincoln Boulevard By Dolores Quintana Honeybee Burger is now officially open at 326 Lincoln...

Japanese Seafood Market Planned for Mar Vista

April 27, 2022

April 27, 2022

Yama Seafood coming to 1709 W. National Blvd By Dolores Quintana Yama Seafood, the San Gabriel based seafood market and...

California Lawmakers Pass Bill to Streamline Permitting for Street Vendors

April 27, 2022

April 27, 2022

Senate Bill 972 passes California State Legislature By Dolores Quintana Despite the fact that the California Safe Sidewalk Vending Act...

LA IPA Fest Returns to Brennan’s

April 20, 2022

April 20, 2022

60 beers from across California coming to Brennan’s in Marina del Rey By Dolores Quintana LA IPA Festival is returning...

PLANTA Opening First LA Restaurant in Marina del Rey

April 14, 2022

April 14, 2022

100% plant based restaurant opening in coming weeks By Dolores Quintana PLANTA, the 100% plant based restaurant that is dedicated...

LA County Takes Steps Towards Banning Single-use Plastics

April 13, 2022

April 13, 2022

Board of Supervisors approve ordinance along 4-1 vote, final vote still needed By Dolores Quintana An ordinance that would ban...

Venice Mexican Restaurant Expands to Silver Lake

April 6, 2022

April 6, 2022

De Buena Planta crew opens restaurant in Silver Lake By Dolores Quintana Venice’s De Buena Planta restaurant has already opened...

Palms Vietnamese Restaurant Burglarized

March 31, 2022

March 31, 2022

Phorage suffers break in over weekend By Dolores Quintana Phorage LA, the locally sourced Vietnamese restaurant at 3300 Overland Boulevard...

Venice Chef Creates Oscar Party Menu

March 30, 2022

March 30, 2022

Felix’s Evan Funke joins the ranks of Thomas Keller, Wolfgang Puck and more in honor By Dolores Quintana Chef Evan...