A VENICE FAVE FOR CALIFORNIA-FRENCH CUISINE
For the last 21 years, Chef Joe Miller and his charming Venice Beach neighborhood bistro Joe’s Restaurant have been delighting locals and “best of” lists with his inspiring and mouthwatering California-French cuisine.
Trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, Chef Miller earned his stripes working at several leading local restaurants including La Toque, Patina, and L’Orangerie. Making sure he only serves delectable food at affordable prices, Miller, a true artist in the kitchen, notes that the secret of his cuisine comes from mixing formal French techniques with Asian and California-influenced esthetics along with using only the best ingredients found in local farmers markets, as well as around the country and even around the globe if need be. Constantly looking for new trends and influences in dishes that Miller and his staff can recreate in his kitchen, a night at Joe’s Restaurant is a wonderful way to treat your palette.
Although the restaurant’s dinner menu is top notch and loaded with tasty treats, Joe’s Restaurant is known for its tantalizing tasting menu that changes daily. During our recent visit we opted to allow the kitchen to prepare our meal and believe me we were not disappointed in the slightest. Some of our selections were either normally served as side dishes or were unique to the ever-evolving tasting menu.
Naturally, our meal was kicked off with a sumptuous amuse-bouche, a wonderful single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre the chef personally selected paired with an inspiring 2007 Spanish Agusti Torello Mata.
Up next was the Peruvian Lantern Scallop Crudo prepared with pickled shimeji, salmon caviar, and cucumber dashi, presented with a nice glass of Junmai Ginjo Fukucho “Moon On The Water” sake. The contrast in drinks this early in the meal was unique and really opened up the taste buds.
Our third course consisted of a light and delightful Pan-roasted Black Grouper with cauliflower mushrooms, braised artichoke, Yuzu Kosho butter, and Meyer lemon gastrique, paired with a nice 2007 Alexander Valley Hafner Chardonnay.
Now into the crux of dinner, the fourth course featured our favorite of the night, the Chestnut Agnolotti with Parmesan, baby mustard greens and brown butter perfectly paired with the 2008 Santa Barbara County Joe Miller Pinot Noir, a truly wonderful selection. This satisfying ravioli dish is often served as a menu side item but was given its due to shine served as a pleasing entrée.
Another dinner highlight was the Sonoma Lamb Sirloin Beet Risotto with lamb ragout and bulls blood green, which may sound odd but tastes out of this world. And it was truly complimented with a savory glass of 1999 Italian Barbera D’Alba Rocche Dei Manzoni.
Finally it was time for dessert and our treats included a sweet and refreshing Pear Sorbet with Bartlett pear and pear puree served with a 1998 Saint Croix Dumont Chateau La Grave, followed by a decadent slice of Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Cake paired with a tasty Graham’s 20-Year Tawny Port.
Can you say magnificent meal? Your ever-so pleased palette will definitely be singing the praise of Chef Miller and company.
Do note that on Sunday nights the Chef’s Prix Fixe Menu is only $48 and the wonderful Wine Pairing is just an additional $22. Well worth it. And if you find yourself on the Westside for lunch-on-the-go, give Chef Miller’s weekday $18 Prix Fixe lunch, with your choice of appetizer, entrée and dessert, a try.
Tour the kitchen at Joe’s Restaurant.
Joe’s Restaurant is located at 1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Valet parking is available. Hours: Lunch Tuesday – Friday from Noon - 2:30pm; Dinner Sunday, Tuesday – Thursday 6 - 10pm; Friday and Saturday 6 – 11pm; Brunch Saturday and Sunday 11am - 2:30pm; Closed Monday. For reservations call 310-399-5811.
Photography courtesy of Joe's Restaurant