Makani slips into Venice on May 11 with one of the most visually inventive and striking designs so far this year. The Rose Avenue restaurant goes into the former Hostaria del Piccolo and Pono Burger before the latter’s owner Makani Carzino decided to turn the space into a straight up passion project. Some of Abbot Kinney’s Wabi Venice team is here too, including beverage directors Raymond Wicks and Conner Mitchell, while Lili Siritaratiwat serves as the general manager.
Korean-American chef Kevin Lee, formerly of Lazy Ox Canteen and Bāco Mercat, helms the kitchen with seasonally-driven fare with a strong influence of LA’s international communities. The tight menu boasts things like an eggplant and nurungi (crisped rice) appetizer with roasted peppers and mint while manila clams don Chinese black beans and chile de arbol with a side of grilled ciabatta. In the larger plates, skirt steak ssam conjures up a stylized Korean barbecue dish while crispy duck confit comes with kimchi bacon rice and broccoli spigarelli. The menu, which should change frequently, is listed below.
In the beverage department, consider a Corn & Oil, mixing Jamaican rum, falernum, and bitters while the natural wine-heavy list pours a juicy 2011 Macon Rouge from Olivier Merlin for $14 a glass. Anyone looking to get an early preview of the restaurant can check the website, which hopes to draw in some locals before its posted opening date. When it opens, hours will run 3 p.m. to midnight daily.
Makani. 512 Rose Avenue. Venice, CA.