Garlic Feast at CHAYA Venice

9 Aug

tomato

Heirloom Tomato with Garlic Ice Cream & Form d’Ambert cheese ($13)

CHAYA has been all over my radar this summer. It started with one of the most memorable meals of the summer (excluding the ones in Japan, naturally): the excellent Japanese Beer Garden at Chaya Downtown. After that wonderful experience (note to self: I’m running out of time to get more of the Coffee BBQ Pork), I decided to grab some pork tacos & cocktails at Chaya Brasserie’s Industry After Hours. Just last Friday, I included the art gallery opening at Chaya Venice where art lovers could score free wine and appetizers in my weekend planner. Continuing Chaya’s desire to offer something new and different for the local culinary community, CHAYA is running a “garlic feast menu” every night in August.

scallops

Seared Scallops, Black Garlic, Marinated Shimeji Mushroom ($13)

As a true garlic lover (I’ll submit my jars of garlic stuffed olives as pantry stables as proof), I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see what they had cooking up.

The first appetizer I ordered was the Heirloom Tomato with Garlic Ice Cream & Form d’Ambert cheese ($13). The cheese was great, and was balanced well with sweetness from the heirloom tomato. I loved the use of garlic ice cream. The dish could have used some finishing salt to add a little more texture and highlight some of the flavors, but this didn’t prevent it from being something I would order again.

Our other starter was seared scallops with black garlic and marinated Shimeji mushroom ($13). The scallops were fresh and I enjoyed the subtle black garlic. I’m also a sucker for the cute little mushrooms, so I was pleased with the dish.

fish

Sautéed Blue Nose Sea Bass, Green Garlic Risotto, Maitake Mushroom Tempura ($28)

The first entree was sautéed blue nose sea bass with green garlic risotto and maitake mushroom tempura. I adored the sea bass and the mushroom tempura was fried deliciousness. How I wish there was more. If they let me sit at the bar and order a big bowl of the mushroom tempura with an equally big bowl of bourbon, I’d be a very happy man. The green garlic risotto was one-note and I got bored of it fairly quickly.

steak

8oz Grilled Rib Eye Steak, 40 Clove Garlic Sauce, Rosemary Roasted Potatoes ($26)

I was mentally prepared to handle a massive amount of garlic this evening, but up to this point, the garlic was featured subtly and didn’t dominate any dish. I was appreciative that they didn’t use a lot of garlic for the sake of using a lot of garlic, but I was absolutely ready for a rib eye covered in a 40 cloves of garlic sauce. The garlic fiend in me was jittery when this dish was set before me. The steak was cooked nicely and the way the garlic was cooked, it offered more sweetness than a full spicy & pungent onslaught. The rosemary roasted potatoes were absolutely divine when dragged through the garlic sauce, and I was glad to hear that the potatoes have a spot on the regular dinner menu.

 

dessert

Apple tart, caramel, & garlic ice cream

Unfortunately the night ended with a bit of disappointment. I was tempted to get the tasty Banana Banana Banana dessert that also appears on the Chaya Downtown menu, but was drawn to the apple tart with caramel & garlic ice cream because it just seemed appropriate to end the meal with one more garlic dish. Sadly, any traces of apple were completely drowned in sweet caramel sauce. I ate all of the garlic ice cream and left the apple tart to stew in the caramel.

There was a bit of confusion when it came to the advertised garlic cocktails. When I inquired about them, my server told me there weren’t any specialty cocktails with garlic, but did offer to go check. When he reported back that there were indeed no garlic cocktails, I figured they just canned the idea. Since Chaya Venice offers half off bottles of wine on Tuesdays, we opted for a lovely bottle of red. However, I just checked today and garlic cocktails are indeed being offered. If I was to do it again, I’d start with a garlic martini (ok, maybe two since I want to try both of the infusions below they are offering), and still get a bottle of wine to complement a leisurely meal.

Garlic-Habenero Infused Vodka
1-medium garlic
1-small habenero pepper
750ml bottle of premium vodka
Infusion jar with tight sealing lid

Garlic-Basil Infused Vodka
1-medium bulb of garlic
2- large sprigs of basil
750ml bottle of premium vodka
Infusion jar with tight sealing lid

To ensure that no one would want to get too close to me that night, let alone make out with me, I also enjoyed a cigar (a once a month indulgence) and a long stroll along the Venice boardwalk.  It was the perfect way to cap a lovely evening.

CHAYA VENICE
110 Navy St.
Venice, CA 90291
Nightly through Aug. 31, 2011

Disclosure: Meal was hosted

Chaya Venice on Urbanspoon

4 Responses to “Garlic Feast at CHAYA Venice”

  1. Angela August 9, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Sold. Mark and I are putting this on our absolute must list for August.

    • Nick August 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

      Let me know if you get the cocktails. I mentioned the other day that I don’t drink vodka, but here is another exception to the rule. I’d devour a garlic martini.

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