Right off the beach on a prime corner lot, the Bank of Venice looks like it could be a historical landmark. Instead, owners Tom Elliott and Spoon Singh are hoping to create a cornerstone in the community. This is the same team behind the Venice Ale House, and they’ve brought over their local, organic menu. Singh carefully curates his menus, making sure his meats are sustainable, GMO-, hormone- and antibiotic-free. It’s what he feels the community he wants to build should reflect. That also inspired the feel of Bank of Venice. The name is a nod to the building’s original use, as a bank, and the interior has an air of nostalgic revival, despite being in the middle of colorful, beachy Venice. Singh describes Bank of Venice being an, “old world refuge on the beach.” While “old world” and “sustainable organic” might seem like disparate concepts, their fresh, California cuisine is easy and unpretentious and accommodating of both concepts.
Though Bank of Venice has an impressive list of beers and California wines, we wanted to know what they had up their craft-cocktail sleeves. We started with a couple of their Soju cocktails: Bank Cosmo and The Mint. Their cosmo came with a hint of blueberry, and was very sweet. Almost like drinking a berry tea, the Bank Cosmo is great for those who prefer something fruity and easy to drink. The Mint is a chocolate mint mojito garnished with raw cacao and mint leaf. Refreshing and citrusy without being overwhelmingly tart, the Mint is balanced well by the cacao. If you don’t like chocolate (who are you?), never fear. It simply rounds out the flavor and gives it a rich finish without being overwhelming.
Our meal started with the Burrata Salad and the Tuna Poke Nori Wrap. Made from local market finds, the Burrata Salad included asparagus, caramelized onions and raspberries served on a pillow of creamy burrata drizzled in balsamic and olive oil. A tasty combination of flavors and a fresh take on a salad without overloading on leafy greens. The Tuna Poke was also an example of masterful texture and flavor combinations: crisp cucumber, buttery tuna and avocado with toasted nori.
Also served up was the Cold Wild Alaskan Salmon Sandwich which is poached and chilled, then served with avocado and lemon dill aioli on sourdough. Salmon is definitely the fish for everyone (sorry, tuna) and you can’t call yourself a Californian without loving avocado. Up next was Bank of Venice’s Meatloaf, which is based on a recipe by their general manager, Megan. Served on a bed of mashed potatoes and hearty vegetables, this modern take on an American classic is a little sweet with a spicy kick.
California cuisine would be remiss to exclude a Mexican influence. Bank of Venice packed their starter menu with Latin-inspired dishes, and the one we sampled was Camarones Del Banco (wild Mexican white shrimp, sauteed in garlic, coconut and cerveza). Slightly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, this dish had a light, savory sweetness of coconut throughout that made us want to cook all our food in coconut oil. The final dish we sampled was another adoptee from abroad– Bangers and Mash. Pork sausage with garlic mashed potatoes, and caramelized onion sauce with spinach. Rich, comfort food. Just what we want from our local eateries.
We finished off our meal with one final cocktail, The Heat. This ginger-infused drink was spicy and had just the kick needed as we neared the end of our dining experience. Satisfied with our multi-faceted tasting, we’re confident that Bank of Venice, with its menu of American classics reinterpreted for the eclectic palate, is a much needed addition to the Venice community.
Bank of Venice
80 Windward Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90291
Friday & Saturday: 12pm-2am