822 Washington Blvd · Venice, CA 90292 · Neighborhood: Venice
Having already been a fan of Sunny Spot since they opened their doors this past November, I was super excited to learn that they were launching their inaugural brunch weekend just in time for Mother’s Day. A special Friends and Family sampling enabled me to try a few items on their menu. With every bite, I couldn’t help but think of friends whom I knew would really enjoy this place. It’s a very diverse menu and should make a lot of foodies salivate with glee.
Since he boldly arrived on the LA food scene in 2008 with his clever Kogi truck marketing tactics, Roy Choi has been redefining our food culture. He filters it through his own sensibilities, fusing upscale cuisine with street food and the foods he grew up with. With Kogi, he combined his Korean influences with Mexican tacos. He took what used to be a boring old IHOP and transformed it into A-Frame – a sleek, contemporary “modern picnic.” And now, such is the case with the fifth installment of his ever-growing empire, Venice’s Sunny Spot.
Roy and owner Dave Reiss elevated the previous resident Beechwood, by creating a sophisticated yet laid back, delicate yet bold dining experience, putting an LA spin on Caribbean fare.
Imagine a DJ sampling the ill’est beats; Roy knows how to take the best elements from various cuisines and make them work together like a badass mix tape – he summons up emotions. Sunny Spot is bolder than most restaurants in this part of Venice. Don’t let the dainty and floral décor fool you, the dishes here are man-friendly, savory and hearty. The plates are meant to be shared, and you’ll find yourself wanting to sample a lot. You’ll also find yourself wanting to save room for dessert, but this almost never happens.
As for the brunch menu, Sunny Spot is not your typical eggs and/or sandwiches kinda brunch. Instead, you have the option of Korean style baked steak and eggs, Jamaican Oxtail Stew, a ginormous plate of pillowy soft Banana French Toast, Smoked Baby Back Ribs or their popular Two Fisted Burger. The meat is expertly prepared so it falls off the bone… it’s really tender.
Roy’s spin on the traditional Cuban sandwich is instead a Cuban Torta with prosciutto, provolone, pickled jalapeño, mayo and mustard. Oh, yeah, Roy doesn’t mess around. There’s something on the menu here for your Paleo-dieting-CrossFit-loving-meat-eater friends and yes, also for your mom, who’d possibly rather get down with a Hearts of Palm Salad or a yummy bowl of AnSon Mills Porridge.
The atmosphere is chill and cozy. A DJ spins island songs while you sip a creamy Jamaican Coffee (spiced with Rum of course). Then you take in some California sun on the patio and you find that you can’t help but dance in your seat a little bit grooving to the mood setting beats. Ahhhh, life is good.
Although my boyfriend and I had devoured two huge dishes, we couldn’t help but get down with another plate – the smoked ribs. When I was done, I licked my fingers clean and smiled sheepishly. Nothing but savory, finger-licking good flavors in this dish. Two and a half hours later, we found ourselves lingering out on the patio just enjoying the calming ambiance, the good-looking people and the satisfying comfort food.
Brunch at Sunny Spot is like you’ve left LA and gone on vacation to a tropical island – minus the groping from TSA.
Anyway you go, you won’t be disappointed. And if you are – oh well, too bad. Go stand in line at GJelina.
BYB Tip: Parking is valet but also breezy around the corner side streets. Make a reservation in advance – especially for dinnertime.
If you go for dinner, be sure to try the sous vide, deep fried, Jerk Wings. Ah-Mazing! Also, great for private parties!