Charcoal Venice, the new inviting, neighborhood restaurant from Michelin-starred Chef and Owner Josiah Citrin, opens tomorrow on Washington Boulevard, a burgeoning culinary destination in Venice, California. A more casual concept than Citrin’s Mélisse, Charcoal Venice upholds the chef’s philosophy “In Pursuit of Excellence,” with a simpler, more approachable menu. As the name suggests, the daily menu features craveable comfort foods cooked over a live fire via a wood oven, over charcoal, in the coals, or in a Big Green Egg—imparting a smoky, backyard barbeque flavor with the use of premium oak and hickory lump coals. Adding to the communal atmosphere of the restaurant, these dishes are all large, family-style portions meant to be shared. Citrin also offers smaller starters, including a unique tartare selection, such as beef heart and lamb, alongside a selection of farmers’ market vegetables, such as a whole head of cabbage baked in the coals until it’s completely black on the outside and smoky on the inside.
“This is the type of casual concept I’ve always wanted to open. It’s the food that I prepare for my friends and family in my backyard on the weekend. Not too fancy, just delicious food that you crave,” says Citrin. “Mélisse is your special occasion restaurant, while Charcoal Venice is an every night place for a refreshing beer and a perfectly grilled entrée.”
California purveyors like Sonoma County Poultry, Apricot Lane Farms, Coleman Family Farm, and Windrose Farm will be a focus in signature items such as the Half Chicken Salsa Verde; 48 oz. Dry-Aged Porterhouse; Coal Roasted Carrots with sheep’s milk ricotta, herbs, honey, and black pepper; andCollard Greens with sweet potatoes, aged cheddar, and a lemon raisin vinaigrette. Four complimentary house sauces including Smoked Paprika Chimichurri, Red Wine-Chipotle Barbeque Sauce, housemade”J1 Sauce,” and an Herb Spiced Vinegar will accompany each meal. The selection of tartares includes Aged Duck with radish, pickled fennel, watercress, mustard, and crème fraîche and Beef Heart with pickled mustard seed, charred celeriac, and chives.
The cocktail program offers modern, spirit-forward interpretations, as well as approachable riffs on classics, such as a Duck Blind with vodka, duck fat, and orange liqueur and the Midnight Margarita with tequila, charcoal, and elderflower. Guests can kick back over a selection of craft beers, including brews from local spots like a Wit from Santa Monica Brew Works and a Session Stout from Boomtown Brewery. The smartly curated wine list focuses primarily on Citrin’s favorite California and French producers, including Au Bon Climat’s “Nuits-Blanches au Bouge” Chardonnay 2013 (Saint Maria Valley) and Domaine Tempier Bandol 2012 (Provence).
Designed by DEX Studio’s Glen Bell, the minimalistic, open concept offers guests a warm and hospitable dining experience. Throughout the restaurant, Bell evokes the feeling of Citrin’s live-fire cuisine, utilizing woods typically used in grilling, such as hickory, walnut, and white oak. Additionally, Bell incorporates pops of black, red, pink, grey, and white, to illustrate the evolution of a piece of burning charcoal. The dining room features a mix of individual and communal tables with sleek ash chairs, brass lighting fixtures that resemble grill tops, and a rotating selection of curated modern art. The bar area features high-top tables and tall metal chairs, allowing patrons to glimpse the action in the open kitchen, which is framed by a large window and wall decorated with a mosaic of all-white tile. A polished concrete and terrazzo floor, and façade featuring succulents and sliding windows, offers refreshing ocean breezes from the street.
Charcoal Venice is located at 425 W. Washington Blvd. between Dell and Clune Avenues in Venice, CA, 90292. The restaurant will be open for dinner Tuesday-Sunday 6-10 p.m. and closed on Mondays. Valet parking is available for guests. Walk-ins are highly encouraged, but reservations can be made by calling 310.751.6794. Follow Charcoal Venice on Twitter and Instagram, and for more information, visit www.charcoalvenice.com.