If you live in Venice, you know about Rose. Not only is it one of the most iconic restaurants in Los Angeles, but it's also been around for 40 years now.
Currently, chef Jason Neroni, who was the former chef at Superba, has kept the roots of The Rose Venice that the community knows and loves while simultaneously introducing his seasonal and globally influenced cuisine.
Chef Jason Neroni's menu focuses on local Southern California cuisine with an international influence from his world travels. The bakery, with Joshua Graves at the helm, celebrates the classics and ranges in its techniques and offerings, keeping in line with Rose's seasonal philosophy. The space consists of both indoor and outdoor dining with a beer garden, a full market, and bakery, offering Verve Coffee, and a 40-foot bar with great cocktails.
When I first went to Rose, I was beyond impressed by the atmosphere in the restaurant. It's a clean and chic space that combines everything you could want; you have a beautiful outdoor space to work from, a cafe and bakery serving fresh croissants, which they pride themselves on because The Rose Bakery is committed to bake in small batches throughout the day in order to offer guests beautiful and delicious baked pastries and bread. There's also a raw bar with all the oysters you could eat, and then you have a fantastic space to have a meal.
The drinks are phenomenal, the food is fresh and locally sourced, and the ambiance will have you coming back for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
What more could you ask for?
Originally an abandoned gas company dispatch office, Rose was established in 1979.
After removing 18 tons of construction materials from the abandoned gas company dispatch office, the owners realized that the expansive space had a galley-like atmosphere. Being a community of artists, they began to use the walls of the restaurant as a canvas to display their art work, quickly establishing the cafe as a Venice landmark location.
When Neroni came into the picture, he met with the original owners and had a conversation on how they could continue to keep this space the cornerstone in Venice.
Jason Neroni was a 16-year-old kid from Orange County when he first discovered his love and passion for the kitchen, which would later set him apart. His incredible abilities took him to Chez Panisse, where he worked as a line cook for a year and then began his career-long reverence for responsibly sourced ingredients. He then returned to Southern California to open Spago Beverly Hills.
A few years later, Neroni earned his stripes in New York and Europe, including notable kitchens such as Le Cirque, Blue Hill, and Essex House. He later went back to New York to become chef de cuisine at The Tasting Room, and at the young age of 27, he became executive chef at celebrated Manhattan restaurant 71 Clinton Fresh Food.
Jason Neroni's growing reputation earned him an invite from Spain to serve as a culinary ambassador, and this resulted in him working alongside some of Spain's best chefs at Arzak, Mugaritz, and El Bulli.
When Neroni and his wife welcomed their first son, he headed back to his California roots, deciding to move his family to Los Angeles to consult on various projects. He helped launch Superba Snack Bar in Venice as executive chef and partner, rolling out multiple side projects as culinary director for restaurant group American Gonzo including East Borough and Superba Food & Bread.
In an interview with Chef Jason Neroni, he was asked what his philosophy on food and dining is. To this, his response was: “I think of food as life. Life is a bunch of different experiences, and food is a bunch of different experiences. So many people have so many different styles, and I love to experience those things. That includes dining. It's all about the experience.”
“Venice is an incredibly health-conscious community,” Jason Neroni says, noting how they shop at the Santa Monica farmer's market at least twice a week for the restaurant, and Neroni also works with various farmers, including a private farmer (Farmer Kelley) from Eclectic Acres in Riverside, California. He even has his own plot he utilizes for Rose, where they grow sunchokes, blossoms, and more.
The Rose Venice prides itself on recycling everything from food scraps, paper, and grease and doing its best to always source locally.
Located on the corner of Rose and Main Street in Venice, when you walk inside of Rose, you'll see a brilliant multi-faceted space that is perfect for both early mornings to late nights.
In the mornings, bread and pastries get fired up throughout the day for freshness from Quince alums Jacob Fraijo and Christina Hanks, who focus on creating delicious American classics and old-school favorites from the old Rose Cafe. Toss in state-of-the-art Verve coffee and a pour-over bar, and you literally will not want to leave. There's also a spacious bar area with a cocktail menu that was designed by Julian Cox and Nick Meyer.
Neroni's dishes consist of various items that are all unique and delicious; he focuses on seasonality and blending his many years of experience into creating the best possible meal for guests. You'll find housemade pasta, market salads, wood-fired pizza, and a few specialty items from a wood-burning rotisserie.
My first dining experience here was incredibly simple and efficient; we were making our way to Dudley Market only to find out it was closed, Rose was a few short blocks away, and it was a Wednesday night, so we figured it wouldn't be too busy.
The ambiance was calm; it wasn't quite dinner time, but the patio was filled with endless chatter, and people were working on their laptops while sipping on wine and coffee.
Everybody at Rose knows who one another is. There are posters everywhere representing the culture of the community; lifestyle, music, skateboarding, and surf. There are gardens hanging in the bar area, so it provides a lush and green atmosphere that makes you feel like you're outdoors.
The area next to the bar has communal tables to sit at, so we snagged a table and reviewed the menu. The bar itself is a craftsman workshop; you'll find cocktails utilizing fresh herbs and fruit, like the Black Sails with del maguey Vida, and passion fruit with aleppo pepper, basil, honey, and lemon. The gentleman pirate sounded great too, made with fresh guava, apricot, lime, pineapple rum, rhum clemente agricole, tiki bitters, and velvet falernum. I noticed the sea cucumber was extremely popular amongst the individuals sitting at the bar top, and that consisted of malfy Italian gin, st. Germain, cucumber, mint, lime, tajin.
Being the wino that I am and the fact that Rose offers an incredible selection of wine, I decided to opt for wine instead of a cocktail. You'll find a rotating selection of sparkling whites, red, and roses that are available for delivery and pick up, and of course, you can also snag a bottle for dinner.
Whenever I get wine, my first choice is always something from the Loire Valley region. The Loire Valley is divided into three specific sections; Upper Loire is the Sauvignon blanc-dominated area of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé.
The Middle Loire is dominated by Chenin blanc and Cabernet franc wines found in the regions around Touraine, Chinon, Vouvray and Saumur. The Lower Loire that leads to the mouth of the river's entrance to the Atlantic goes through the Muscadet region, and it’s dominated by wines of the Melon de Bourgogne grape.
Unlike many areas of France, the Sancerre region is heavily mechanized with the use of mechanical harvesting instead of hand pickers. One of the best-known producers in the region is Didier Dageneau, who, until his death in 2008, was an influential voice in the area advocating the reduction of yields and the use of organic viticulture.
Pouilly-Fumé only produces white wines, while Sancerre produces red, white, and rosé wines. The white Sauvignon blanc-based wines from this region have characteristic gooseberry and grapefruit flavors, while the Pouilly-Fumé are typically more full-bodied and rich in texture.
Now that we got a little wine lesson out of the way, I got the 'le clos' sauvignon blanc which is from the middle Loire, and it has tree fruit and earthy notes to it. It was a great choice, and it paired perfectly with the oysters we ordered next.
Rose offers daily oysters, and we got a dozen. They came with a side of pink peppercorn mignonette, horseradish, and cocktail sauce. The oysters were a bit on the larger side, but they tasted fresh.
In addition to oysters, the raw bar also offers a yellowtail crudo that is to die for, with a strawberry dashi, pickled green strawberries, chive oil, and a splash of lime. You'll also find bluefin tuna tartare and a shrimp "Banh mi" salad made with sweet chili vinaigrette, sriracha oil, brioche, Thai basil, and cilantro blossoms.
Next is the butchery menu. You'll find options like candied braised bacon and crispy pork croquettes here, which are a popular menu item made with a black truffle aioli and pickled pearl onions. We decided to try something new and went with the bacon-wrapped duck liver pate, made with opal mustard and balsamic prunes.
The portion size of the pate was on the bigger side and certainly shareable, but they only provided a small piece of toast, so you should definitely ask for more. The pate is flavorful and rich, and while I'm not a pate fan, I thought it quite good.
Chef Jason Neroni says, "I'm definitely a chef who relies heavily on seasons," and you'll notice that as you scan through the seasonal items on the menu.
You'll find appetizers like fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese, pickled romanesco, pistachio and Italian mortadella, grilled french white asparagus with red Thai curry, lardo, with parmesan bread crumbs, and a 25-year aged balsamic. My absolute favorite is the crispy brussels sprouts with apple cider tare, white sesame tofu, scallions, and Japanese curry.
In terms of entrees, you'll find ample options from the rotisserie & grill, pasta, and separate pizza menu. I can confidently tell you that their pizza is incredible; it's wood-fired and also Neroni's favorite thing to cook and eat. I highly recommend the killer bee, made with pepperoni, mozzarella, oregano, and chili honey. There's also gluten-free dough available for pizzas.
I have yet to try the pasta, but I've heard incredible things about them all, as Chef Jason's pastas are all fresh and housemade. The smoked Radiatore carbonara with poached egg, braised bacon, parmesan, and black pepper is on my "to try next" list.
In terms of items from the rotisserie & grill, I'm a steak fan, so I decided to try their dry-aged hanger steak, made with bloomsdale spinach saag, tandoori asparagus, and spring onions, topped with a delicious coconut chutney.
The steak was phenomenal, and I felt like I was transported to the middle east with the flavor combinations. I can definitely say it was worth the splurge.
Another thing Rose is known for are their fantastic desserts. You can often see the chefs making them when you walk to the outdoor dining room; you'll even catch whiffs of toasted hazelnuts and fresh strawberries in the air. I'd recommend the peanut butter chocolate bar with peanut butter mousse, dulce ganache, chocolate cake, and roasted peanuts on top, or the strawberry shortcake with golden cake, vanilla creme fraiche, strawberries, and strawberry ice cream.
If neither of those get you, try the coffee soft serve or the blueberry coconut cloud, which is a blueberry sorbet with coconut cream, crispy coconut, huckleberry, and french toast.
Rose is an all-day affair type of restaurant, so if you’re looking for a place to work from, this is it. If you’re looking for a fantastic meal, this is also it.
The restaurant hours vary; breakfast is from 8 am to 10 am Monday through Friday, lunch is from 10 am to 3 pm Monday through Friday, brunch is on weekends from 9 am to 4 pm, and dinner is from 5 pm to 10 pm Monday through Sunday.
I'd highly advise anybody coming in for dinner to make reservations in advance; while walk-in space is sometimes available, you never know how long you'll have to wait for a table to open up, and valet parking is also available in the lot behind the Rose if not, there's street parking.
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