Brunch is a meal that doesn’t always have to be predictable. Let me introduce you to a new kind of brunch: Sunny Spot by Chef Roy Choi.
While I have to admit I’m not a huge fan of Kogi barbeque, Choi’s most known culinary venture, Sunny Spot really is a happy endeavor. When you pull in off of Washington Boulevard in Venice, you enter a small parking lot with valet. From the outside, Sunny Spot is unassuming but when you enter the restaurant, you step inside a colorful, sunny and truly open space.
Sometimes you want to step inside of a restaurant and be transformed. You want to forget about the world outside and just eat and drink with a light heart, a happy belly, and a scrumptious cocktail in hand. That restaurant is Sunny Spot.
The d/cor is a cross between Anthropologie, an upscale Caribbean food stop, and shabby chic with an urban bohemian twist. Choi has created a menu that spans every inch of the globe in a non-stuffy, playful, get your hands dirty and your appetite ready kind of way. With menu items ranging from Asian, French, Caribbean, American and random-inspired cuisine, you will no doubt leave here with a perfectly satisfied tummy and a very colorful recollection.
Seated outside on the patio where colored tables and chairs await, I look through the campy menu reminiscent of the 1950s. This is not the standard brunch (and for this I am so grateful). With starters like The Skillet coffee cake, Johnny cakes, Korean style baked eggs served with jerk-seasoned potatoes, oxtail stew and more, the selection is beyond authentic.
So while I decide on sampling just about everything – it’s cocktail time. I ordered a Bloody Mary and my guest ordered Death in the D.R. The Bloody Mary is always my test. This one has Jamaican jerk spice and Dirty Sue and while I wouldn’t mind an extra kick of spice and a chile rim, it was still good. The Death in the D.R. consists of Dominican rum, lime, honey, and a bit of the green fairy in it (Absinthe).
We then ordered a little bit of everything:
Savory Festival Bread, with rum honey, guava jam, and goat’s milk butter – a different take on bignets with what seems like a corn batter on the outside and dips that exemplify the doughnut-like finger food.
Sunfire Salad: Butter lettuce, radicchio, arugula, cauliflower, grapefruit, goat cheese, chili vinaigrette – this is a crisp and bitter salad balanced by blending the goat cheese, citrus of the grapefruit, and subtle kick of the dressing. On a hot day it does the trick, though I’d love to see a little more citrus in it.
Two Fisted Cheeseburger: tomato jam, arugula, cheddar, herb mayonnaise – a burger with a purpose. Cooked to chef’s preference of medium light, this massive pile of beef is certainly worth every fatty bite. (Add some pickle).
Cuban Torta: pork terrine, prosciutto, provolone, pickled jalapeno, mayo, mustard – while this one has possibility, it’s a bit too dry for my taste. Had it been prepared with a sauce that you could dip the torta in, it may have been more successful.
Sweet & Salty fried plantains – these plantains remind me of being in the Dominican Republic. Perfectly prepared, the plantains are firm but ripe and crisp from the brown sugar coating with a pucker of salt.
In between plates we order one more cocktail – Cane River Mimosa (Cava, orange, creole shrub, creole bitters) and the Westfall (Tequila, mezcal, lime, falernum, apricot). Both were exactly what they seem, which means they were ideal as the sun beat down above us. My only regret is being too full to devour Sunny Spot’s in-house caramels. Next time … and there will most definitely be a next time, when there will be room for dessert.
Sunny Spot is my pick of the month for brunch. It is a beautiful restaurant perfect for brunch with friends, a little family time, or just for the staycation escape. The menu boasts whimsy and heart, flavor and everything from comfort food to adventure.
Chef Choi has outdone himself with this weekend brunch. Thanks to everyone at the restaurant, weekends don’t have to be predictable and Sunny Spot is anything but.
*A note to readers: I am looking to try something authentic and if there are new restaurants or local fixtures you’d like me to check out, please email me suggestions at email@example.com
Sunny Spot, 822 Washington Blvd. Venice, 310.448.8884