Chez Tex is a casual, neighborhood wine bar on Main Street in Venice, serving interesting small plates in a relaxing setting.
Lucky me. There's yet another great new restaurant open on Main Street in Venice, right in my neighborhood. I already talked about some of my favorites on the street here, which covers Santa Monica as well, but there's always room for one more. Welcome to the club Chez Tex.
From the name one might assume Mexican food, or worse, Tex Mex. Luckily Chez Tex is none of the above. It's a restaurant, more or less, or maybe it's more accurate to call it a wine bar. I think the best definition for it is, "neighborhood hang."
It's super casual with just a few high and low top tables for groups along the wall, and a nice airy cement bar opposite. There are stools at the bar, making for a great spot to stop in for just a drink or small bite on your way home or to other endeavors on Main Street.
The menu changes often and usually has about a dozen items. You might see pâté, tartare, risotto or snapper one night, and the next there might be pork chops, salmon and sausage.
There's usually some salads like now there's a seasonal pumpkin, kale and pomegranate, as well as a simple, but clean little gem lettuce with persian cucumber and fresh shallot and mint.
I always love a good veg so was happy with the wild and cultivated mushrooms medley, doused with olive oil and runny egg on top.
There was also a rich roasted squash with honey yogurt and pumpkin seeds. It was a hearty dish that was both sweet and savory.
The grass fed hanger steak was solid and reasonably priced at $23, making for a nice option when the fridge is empty on the way home from work.
Chez Tex usually offers a fish or two every night. The whitetail on the menu one night looked a bit ordinary, but the velvety, dairy free, coconut carrot lime sauce was heavenly and spoon-worthy.
There's a well-curated wine list with a heavy French influence, given Chez Tex is riffing off of the neo-bistros of Paris. I'm always happy with a French riff. Better still is that all the wine can be ordered by the glass or bottle with no bottle price exceeding $80. Most bottles hover around the $50 mark, which I appreciate, especially in a local wine bar.
There's beer options with two selections on tap and several interesting varieties in bottle.
Will you reach culinary nirvana at Chez Tex? No, probably not, but you will enjoy a nice glass of wine with some solid food that goes beyond standard fare. The friendly neighborhood vibe will also have you coming back for more.
218 Main Street, Venice