Venice's Abbot Kinney gets another new Instgram-worthy hot spot with the opening of Neighbor restaurant. Enjoy cocktails on the back patio or in the lounge, paired with fresh, seasonal dishes.
Abbot Kinney Boulevard has seen its share of changes over the last few years. With additional money coming into the neighborhood, more higher-end stores and boutiques have been opening. Along with the shift in stores has come restaurant transition. Newly opened Neighbor Restaurant on Abbot Kinney shows this exact change.
In the last five years, I've seen three restaurant iterations at 1031 Abbot Kinney. First was the 13 year run of the lovely French-leaning spot, Lillys. That was a tough one watch close. But then came Govind Armstrong with his Southern gem, Willie Jane. People raved about those biscuits, but it only lasted 3-1/2 years. Now we have newcomer Neighbor restaurant trying their hand on Venice's Abbot Kinney.
The space essentially looks the same with two comfy, couch areas up front and a long bar in the middle with a row of tables behind.
Luckily the lovely covered patio in back is still in good shape with a slight cosmetic polish and the addition of more casual seating circles.
Cocktails are as they should be at any hot spot in Venice. You have some old familiars like a spruced up gimlet, but an Oaxacan spritz gets a twist with mezcal mixed with aperol, lime, and grapefruit. I can't say it reminded me that much of a spritz, but I did enjoy the unique flavors. And of course they have a nice collection of wine by the glass from Napa to France.
The menu reads like most - hamachi sashimi, brussels sprouts, Mary's chicken, strip steak, but the taste is anything but average.
A sweet gem lettuce salad is enhanced by a generous helping of Dungeness crab, but they didn't phone in the crab. There were balanced punctuations of acid, pepper and dill. One bite and my taste buds were piqued. They had a buttermilk dill dressing that almost wasn't even necessary on the already flavorful dish, but it was definitely still delicious.
The cauliflower dish was recommended by our affable waiter "Pasta." Pasta was very enthusiastic about several of Neighbor's menu items, like the cauliflower. It's done three ways with a base of a cauliflower puree with tahini, topped with a giant, intact roasted cauliflower spear, and topped with shaved cauliflower and a sherry - caper vinaigrette. That plate was licked clean.
Pasta liked the diver scallop and king salmon equally, but his favorite entree was the lamb saddle. He hadn't steered us wrong yet, so we went with the slow-cooked, fork-tender lamb. Fairytale eggplant, which we learned was a local varietal, was charred, accenting both ends of the plate. Two contrasting, but complementary sauces dotted the plate with coconut lime for tang and vadouvan for earthy spice. Entrees were under $30 and starters under $20.
I thoroughly enjoyed the dishes at Neighbor restaurant on Abbot Kinney. If my first meal is any indication of their future, I'd say they should have a long one. It's my favorite menu to date in that space!
1031 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice