Charcoal Venice Blazes With Flavor

Josiah Citrin's newest restaurant features open-fire cooking

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Meat, seafood and veggies are cooked by a live fire at Charcoal Venice
Feel the char: Meat, seafood and veggies get charcoal-kissed at Charcoal Venice. (Photos courtesy of Dylan+Jeni)

Updated Jul 2, 2017 @ 8:08 am

It’s hard to imagine cooking more elemental than this: A head of cabbage buried in hot embers. Wild-caught fish and all-natural meat sizzling over glowing charcoal.

This might sound like a camp cookout, but it’s actually the latest culinary maneuver from lauded fine-dining chef Josiah Citrin, who’s been showcasing his French techniques at Santa Monica’s Mélisse for upwards of 15 years. His recently opened Charcoal Venice is quite a departure, featuring all live-fire cooking and an upscale-casual vibe.

Charcoal Venice features industrial accents and warm lighting
Warm lighting softens the edges at Charcoal Venice.

But his sourcing principles remain the same. He sources produce grown with organic practices from the Santa Monica Farmers Market. Protein-wise, he selects antibiotic- and hormone-free beef, pastured Jidori chicken and sustainable seafood.

Then, he lets the fire work its magic. That cabbage ($9.50) emerges from the embers charred outside and soft inside. It’s served in quarters with lemon-sumac yogurt, an incredibly tasty and healthful alternative to bread and butter. Rainbow carrots are also roasted in the coals and are deliciously paired with sheep’s milk ricotta ($12.50).

A selection of grilled steaks—from bone-in ribeye ($48) to a dry-aged Porterhouse that serves three to four people ($145)—dominates the family-style main course options. Pair them with house-made sauces like mustard chimichurri and Basque vinegar. Seafood-wise, there’s grilled lobster ($65) and butterflied loup de mer ($34).

While the charcoal-cooked dishes are the main draw, there’s also an assortment of meat tartares and salads (we especially dug the fresh collard greens salad with sweet potato and raisin vinaigrette, $14.50).

Whether raw or cooked, the dishes at Charcoal are hot stuff.

Charcoal Venice
425 Washington Blvd., Venice
(310) 751-6794
charcoalvenice.com