VENICE TRENDY SPOT IMPRESSES
Some places just scream neighborhood hang. These are locations that are inviting and cool to spend time at. And in Venice Beach on trendy Abbot Kinney, Neighbor is that place.
Ample in space with a cozy bar and a spectacular garden patio, Neighbor, especially for weekend brunch, is the perfect spot of a long and lazy meal. It’s the optimal place to day drink on chic Abbot Kinney.
I fondly remember the former Lily’s space, which was a neighborhood favorite for 13 years. I enjoyed so many parties and late nights and long lunches there. Walking into Neighbor, those memories came racing back and I just knew that my weekend brunch was going to be a good time.
Dining al fresco, we started with a round of the Mezcal Bloody Mary made with mezcal, tomato juice, Worcestershire, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Indeed brunch was off to a spicy good start and the cocktail and pretty setting combined to create the perfect place for day drinking.
And before I get too far into brunch, let’s just get to the star of the afternoon (much to my surprise). A manager recommendation, the Tuna Conserva with Danish rye, labne (strained Greek yogurt), caper berry, and sundried tomato, floored us. We initially skipped it looking over the menu and I still didn’t know what to expect when the dish surprisingly arrived. So full of flavor, it was absolutely delicious. It was kind of the perfect brunch comfort food. Who knew?
Another brunch favorite was Uncle J’s Fried Chicken with corn bread, honeycomb, and jalapeño. It worked on every level as the fried chicken was bomb as was my honey soaked corn bread. This was a definite crowd-pleaser.
While the Blood Mary was a great starter, we moved on to other cocktails after. And the Oaxacan Spritz with mezcal, Aperol, lime, grapefruit, salt, and soda, along with the The Baja, made with tequila, stonefruit, basil, lime, and chili, delivered nicely. The Baja in particular is a nice, fiery cocktail.
While the Castelfranco Radicchio with anchovy, parmesan, Dijon, and crouton disappointed this diehard Caesar salad fanatic, the Heirloom Teriyaki Rice with sunny egg, edamame, smoked salmon, and nori was absolutely fascinating. Again, just like the tuna, not what I consider standard brunch fare but it was loaded bountiful bites of flavor. We just couldn’t stop eating it.
And the other brunch bad boy was the Buttermilk Pancakes with blueberry, walnut, coffee butter, and maple syrup. It was the perfect dessert and the perfect way to end brunch. I was just expecting an order of pancakes and instead received a plate of stacked of heaven. I can’t imagine anyone eating this dish all by themselves as it is extremely decadent. But it’s the ultimate shared plate of hearty sweetness.
Big props to the Neighbor powers that be for creating a place you want to get lost in and enjoy good company, food and drink. It’s a welcome break from the busy outside world.
Neighbor is located at 1031 Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice.
Story By: Jose Martinez
Some Photography Courtesy Of: Neighbor