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.
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.
425 Washington Blvd., Venice