Monday, May 30, 2011

Tasting Kitchen Review: Eclectic Italian Inspired Cuisine in Venice

A. & J. were in town from New York for the weekend so we all went to the Tasting Kitchen in Venice on Abbott Kinney on Friday night. I had never been before but had heard positive reviews so I was looking forward to checking it out. The restaurant has been open about 2 years under the guidance of Chef Casey Lane. I really like the space: open airy and rustic industrial with really comfortable and cool looking leather covered hybrid Bertoia / Eames inspired chairs with a nice hip Venice buzz in the air. The menu is a bit cryptic but quite appetizing and changes quite often.  I thought the food was excellent; some of the best cooking I've had in awhile. To share, we ordered deliciously crusty yet pillowy soft bread with soft butter and maldon salt, a tiny beet salad, clams and chorizo, and some awesome sticky chicken wings. I had the taglierini pasta with uni and squid which had great big flavors and the table shared a side of lentils and rapini as well as a few slices of tres leches for dessert. K. had the best grilled pork chop we've both ever had; it was thoroughly charred from the grill on the outside and juicy on the inside. It was very steak-like; reminded me of Jocko's spencer ribeye steak which I had a few weeks ago, the best steak ever. I really enjoyed my summery well-crafted '57 Chevy pineapple and gin cocktail in its retro glass, and we had an earthy funky German pinot noir with our meal. We had a minor issue with the delivery of food, but the restaurant was more than made up for it; the service is really top notch. I'm really impressed by the food coming out of the kitchen; they fresh make their pastas every day and even butcher their own meat. While I've had good food at Gjelina a couple blocks away, I enjoyed the experience at Tasting Kitchen more, both in terms of food and service. I'll definitely be returning soon.
Really delicious: slightly sweet, good char
Clams with big chunks of chorizo were really good with a flavorful broth and grilled bread
It's very dark in the restaurant so subsequent pics didn't turn out. I loved my pasta with squid, uni and breadcrumbs. The pasta had the perfectly cooked chewy, toothsome texture that you only get from fresh pasta, and the chewy squid and briny and creamy uni were perfect match
Tres leches cake; really good, swimming in and soaking up the sweet milk cream
1633 Abbott Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 
(310) 392-6644

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