It's amazing that S. Irene Virbila can get past the noise level to praise Travis Lett's food at Gjelina in Venice. She dedicates a good chunk of today's review to how noisy the Abbot Kinney restaurant is, what's causing the noise, where to sit to avoid the noise. But there's something about Lett she just adores, his simple, rustic style, the seasonal ingredients, most of all the pizzas. And more:
Among non-pizza dishes from recent menus, Letts turns out a beautiful plate of nectarine wedges with arugula, spoonfuls of burrata and pale pink speck, shaved very thinly over the top. Baby beets and their greens roasted in a cast iron skillet emerge from the wood-burning oven looking like strands of seaweed, with a slightly smoky taste that is wonderful with gobbets of sheep's milk ricotta and a drizzle of walnut oil. Monterey Bay squid are rolled up and grilled, unbelievably tender, and served with roasted red peppers, fingerling potatoes and an emerald chimichurri sauce (mostly parsley with garlic and olive oil) for a Latin touch. Getting hungry?See, just tickled. But blast that horrible noise level! Also, desserts are kind of lacking and as usual the wine list isn't as up to snuff as she'd like, but at least they have proper stemware. Miss Irene gives Gjelina two-and-a-half stars. Today the "S." stands for "stentorian." [LAT; photo credit]
ELSEWHERE: Metromix and LA.com both check out the newly renovated/conceptualized Max in Sherman Oaks; The LAT finds a better Michelangelo in Silver Lake; Triplecreme can't get enough of the Whole Foods Venice wine bar; LAist finds Sashi Sushi more of the same in Manhattan Beach; Potatomato finds the Father's Office burger as good as ever; and Man Bites World does Italy at Terroni and Brunello Trattoria.