When a new restaurant opens in my neighborhood near the beach in the Santa Monica/Venice area, I cross my fingers. I hope the restaurant is going to be better than the one that just closed before it. Of course I hope that the food will be good - not too fussy and nothing that includes microwaving ingredients from packages. Having a nice wine list and good cocktails is another must. A nice atmosphere is also on the wish list. Lately that somewhat simple list has felt like some tall orders for the area. So when I heard about the new opening of The Anchor on Main St., I went to investigate, holding my breath.
Owners and servers greeted us with smiles, invited us to choose a seat from tables on the outdoor patio, good for people watching, or bar stools or banquets inside for a more nautical feel. Seeing as summer is still holding on, we sat outside and started with some Rose. There was also a nice list of craft brews, as well as a sampler trio people were enjoying. Atmosphere and drinks were underway.
The menu is small, but seafood driven with oysters coming from the typical hotspots off the west coast and in B.C. Steamed mussels are also beefed up with chopped chorizo in a white wine - tomato broth that is mop worthy with the accompanying toasted bread.
An interesting cheese plates is on offer with each selection going for $5, accompanied by seasonal fruit.
There's two seasonal salads, a lobster roll and a half dozen shared plates with a smoked scallop ceviche, torched hamachi crudo and a lone pork tenderloin in housemade kimchi representing the meat department.
I'm always happy to see octopus on a menu, and The Anchor's is braised with a nice bite, but still tender enough to enjoy with heartier chorizo and housemade pickles and chimichurri.
The chicken and waffles were sinfully delicious with a maple syrup reduction and chili salt that provided a good kick to dunk the crispy, juicy meat.
As if that's not dessert enough, save room for the s'more panna cotta. It's all your favorite memories from a campfire, but stylized with a rice crispy crust, and none of the work.
There's no foams or emulsions. There's not even any beef, but The Anchor is a nice local neighborhood spot to stop in for a drink, a couple oysters and maybe a side salad. All items are under $20 and one's you may wish were also down the street from your house.