The restaurant Bank of Venice, Public House is literally in a 108 year old bank, a block from the beach on the corner of Pacific and Winward. This corner high vaulted ceiling establishment has the kind of menu that gets me excited. No froufrou! Their organic summer menu is loaded with good eats – from the Mexican flair starters that include guacamole, quesadillas, or Camarones del Banco (wild Mexican white shrimp sautéed in garlic, coconut, and cerveza) to the ultimate in fresh seafood starters that include wild Alaskan salmon cakes, ceviche del dia (fresh seafood), and tuna poke nori wrap (yellowfin ahi tossed in spicy aioli, soy and sesame, with cucumber and avocado.
Tom Elliott and Spoon Singh, the devious minds behind the Venice Ale House, have cooked up this second twist of Venice love and money by the beach. Bank of Venice offers the same caliber of delicious local and organic fare priced from around $10 – $14. Chef Jason Feehrer, who has split his professional career between Hawaii (Palm Café – considered one of the “finest on the big island”) and British Columbia (Sooke Harbor House – one of “BC’s top restaurants”) is bringing a perfect blend of the Pacific Rim and the Pacific Northwest to Venice. Jason specializes in sustainable seafood and meats — all GMO, hormone and antibiotic free.
My favorite item on the menu was the baked mac and cheese with pulled pork on top that looked like it had green spinach entwined with the 60-day raw, aged cheddar (light in texture, but strong in flavor), and I was told it was gluten-free. My next favorite concoctions included 1) the cold wild Alaskan salmon sandwich with avocado, lemon dill aioli on sourdough – a perfect sandwich bite with hardy bits of salmon, 2) the sesame-crusted ahi tuna tartar with avacado that had a nice spiciness to it, and 3) the fresh giant shrimp with the perfect sauce. Another dish to write home to mom about is the meatloaf which is prepared daily with Paso Prime grass-fed ground beef – delicious floating on top of some veggies and garlic mashers. You may want to try the Bangers and Mash – sausage courtesy of Neiman Ranch. The perfect ending to the evening was the decadent chocolate mousse mixed with berries.
Other dishes I can’t wait to go back and try are the Carlsbad mussels Sauvignon served with rosemary roasters, Build your own Burrito, open face tuna melt with yellowfin Ahi tuna and avocado, tomato basil soup with sourdough grilled cheese, sautéed veggie salad, Cobb salad (this will not be any old Cobb, I’m sure), and burrata salad with local market goodies – O.M.G. Yum!
I could easily see the hip Venice atmosphere here continuing nonstop since the fresh food will continue to draw crowds. Open until midnight weekdays and 2:00 a.m. weekends, the cool casual beach atmosphere will be packed also due to the low key bar with the wide selection of beer, wine, and craft made Soju cocktails. There are over 30 local ales in bottles and on tap, 24-plus California offerings on the wine wall, and an amazing array of fresh fruit cocktail infusions from some of Venice’s finest mixologists. The Mint (fresh local chocolate mint made mojito style served with raw cacao) and The Heat (spicy infused gingerita) are sure to keep you feeling spicy. Not into alcohol? There are a variety of freshly squeezed juices, juice combinations, and ginger lemonade, to name just a few. One large TV will attract visitors who want to catch a game. Surprisingly, it was not at all a distraction while eating.
Bank of Venice, just a few yards from the Venice Boardwalk, is sure to give you a sold return on your investment. Friday, May 17, 2013 was the grand opening.
Bank of Venice
80 Winward Avenue
Venice, CA 90291