If you’re anything like me, then you’re probably emailing or texting your friends at this very moment to firm up weekend brunching plans. If you haven’t yet figured out the “where” variable in your dining equation, allow me to make the case for Venice’s Sunny Spot.
After a winter-long hiatus, Chef Roy Choi is reintroducing brunch in brilliant fashion. He’s jammed the new menu with big, bold flavors, as well as portions large enough to share—hallmarks of his style of cooking and feeding.
Natural light pours into Sunny Spot’s main dining room and patio, while rap music, particularly of the West Coast variety, blares from the speakers. This space was made for hosting laid back daytime fetes.
One of the most compelling reasons to brunch here would have to be the $10 bottomless Mimosas (center), Bloody Marys (left), Rum Punch (right), and Cava that allows for mixing and matching at drinkers’ whims. I’ve brunched all over this town and have yet to encounter a boozy deal this grand. For a full rundown of the restaurant’s cocktail program, check out my friend Caroline’s write up.
At a recent press preview for the brunch menu, Chef Roy and company treated us to the new menu’s hardest hitters. There’s something for everyone here, like this Sunfire Chicken Salad ($13) with jerk chicken, butter lettuce, radicchio, arugula, cauliflower, grapefruit, goat cheese, and chili vinaigrette. This salad works well as a shared starter or as a lighter main dish.
The Hangover Plate ($15), two eggs prepared any style with Sunny Spot’s signature “Salty Yellow Rice,” black beans, avocado mash, plantain chips, and diablo sauce, was definitely calling my name. The shear variety of textures and flavors on the plate kept this eater engaged.
If you’re a fan of Sunny Spot’s mofongo, then you’ll adore the Muh-F K’N Mofongo and Eggs ($11). Two fried eggs, ripe plantains, Applewood bacon, fennel, garlic, fresh herbs, and ginger oil—a bowlful of Caribbean flare.
For those who have a penchant for foods that burn so good, the Diablo Shrimp and Grits ($12) is for you (and me). Served with a spicy rum sauce, garlic butter, and herbs with two fried eggs over grits, this dish certainly lives up to its devilish name. For a double dose of spice that’s nice, pair this one with the bottomless Bloody Mary.
The simply named Egg Plate ($15) features two eggs any style, jerk potatoes, and either braised pork belly or grilled hanger steak. We tasted the grilled steak this morning. Aside from the jerk-spiced potatoes served with banana ketchup, this offering is as classic as they come.
For the vegetarian dining among carnivores, there’s a super-satisfying Roasted Veggie Omelet ($12) packed with fingerling potatoes, Brussels sprouts, cipollini onions, and goat cheese.
My favorite dish this morning was the unassuming Cuban Torta ($13). Between the plush, mustard-slathered buns was a luscious filling of pork terrine, prosciutto, provolone, and pickled jalapeno. The fried spears of yucca served on the side with banana ketchup were equally fetching.
I also really liked the Blueberry Pancakes ($12), the quintessential brunchtime offering. The flapjacks’ batter was full of sesame seeds and blueberries, while its texture was a light delight.
Making a special appearance from the dinner menu is the Two Fisted Cheeseburger ($13) served on a brioche bun with tomato jam, red onion, arugula, cheddar, and an herb mayo. Yes, please.
The final main dish that graced the table was the Steak Sandwich ($16), grilled skirt steak, avocado mash, jalapeno vinaigrette, mayo, and pickled red onions on toasted ciabatta. This one reminded me of the San Diego-style carne asada burritos that I grew up on—lots of smoky meat, avocado, and no distractions.
Dessert is a must for me, even at brunch, and the “Home Skillet” Bread Pudding ($8) made from ciabatta bread, pears, raisins, and coconut fit the bill nicely. The entire thing was topped with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. I love it when warm fronts and cold fronts collide.
Also making a special appearance from the dinner menu is the Hot Fudge Sundae ($6). Roy’s got a passion for hot fudge sundaes, so it’s no surprise that this creation is tops—vanilla ice cream, candied peanuts, whipped cream, and a Luxardo cherry.
Make Sunny Spot your spot. It’s excellent for dinner too, by the way.
822 Washington Boulevard
Venice, CA 90292
One year ago: Alinea – Chicago
Two years ago: Red Boat Fish Sauce
Three years ago: Sage Cafe – Seattle
Four years ago: Luscious Dumplings Inc. – San Gabriel
Five years ago: Bánh Khọt
Six years ago: Osteria – Philadelphia