At last, Josiah Citrin's much delayed Charcoal Venice has opened its doors as of yesterday on the border between Venice and Marina del Rey along Washington Blvd. The Mélisse chef is taking quite a departure from his fine dining background with his new casual concept that serves the kind of comfort fare that can be eaten everyday.
As the name would suggest, most of the dishes are cooked over a live fire either in the wood oven, over charcoal, or in oak and hickory lump coals. Of course, this isn't your typical barbecue fare, with a seriously elevated approach to backyard cooking.
The main attraction here are the large, family-style plates of grilled meats like the half chicken salsa verde, dry aged porterhouse, and aged lamb leg. It isn't all sharable carnage though, with a nod to the two Michelin-starred chef's fine dining restaurant in a tartare section that features dishes like beef heart with pickled mustard seed and lamb with fermented turnips.
If you like to drink beer with your roasted meat, Charcoal Venice offers a solid set of craft brews with local purveyors that include Santa Monica Brew Works and Boomtown Brewer. Of course, Citrin fare lends itself well to wine, so the restaurant's curated list includes the chef's favorite California and French producers. For cocktail aficionados, classic drinks receive a playfully thematic update, like the Duck Blind with vodka, duck fat, and orange; and Midnight Margarita with tequila, charcoal, and elderflower.
Also of note are the hefty price tags that don't quite reflect the sort of family-friendly fare you might be accustomed to. That plate of half chicken runs for $34, baked cabbage for $9, and french fries for a whopping $12.50. Still, it's a much more affordable way to get a taste of the cuisine by one of the most revered chefs in the city.
Check out the full menu below: