Chef Jackson Kalb is intent on establishing himself as a Westside pasta impresario. The longtime owner of Jame Enoteca in El Segundo, along with partner Melissa Saka, is now ready to launch his second restaurant right on the main drag in Venice, called Ospi. The long-anticipated restaurant was scheduled to open for service in March or April before the pandemic struck, forcing Kalb and Saka to shift gears heavily in the intervening months. Now the duo is ready to serve, with first orders rolling out tonight.
Much like Kalb’s other restaurant in the South Bay, Ospi will focus on Italian flavors, though this one comes with a more straightforward southern peninsula bent. That means housemade pasta with a “softer, silkier” feel as well as a hyper-thin pizza style that acts as a nod to the Roman restaurant Antico Forno Roscioli. Meatballs, tuna conserva, and the like round out the starter options, and dishes like crispy branzino, butter chicken, and pork secreto act as mains after the pasta and pizza courses. Cocktails and wines by the glass run in the $14 range.
As for the space, the former 20-year-old Canal Club at 2025 Pacific Avenue has been completely overhauled with lots of light blonde wood, long communal tables for use in a post-pandemic world, a dark stone bar, and glassed-in pasta-preparation station off to the side of the dining room. This isn’t the Evan Funke climatized pasta box from nearby Felix, but it’s clear that handmade noodles will be a showcase.
Ospi opens for service tonight, with al fresco dining for 40 as well as takeout and delivery via GrubHub and DoorDash. Expect hours from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week, plus a 20% starter discount for on-site dining for the first week (however, they won't be serving no alcohol).