Wallflower Venice is a cozy restaurant on Rose Avenue's restaurant row. The short menu serves bold and spicy Asian dishes for a neighborhood crowd.
Wallflower restaurant quietly opened on Rose Avenue Venice's growing restaurant row a short while ago. There's still no sign out front with its name on it. In fact, the night I went, I wasn't even sure if it was going to be open for dinner.
As I was walking down Rose Avenue on a recent Thursday, I was surprised to see the usual spots on the street only half empty. And then I got to Wallflower and found all the neighborhood locals inside.
Wallflower is a cozy spot with a small patio and a handful of tables scattered behind a long bar with backlit bottles of libations. No soju here. There's proper cocktails with of-the-moment spirits like whiskey and scotch mixed with bitter blends and infused honeys and syrups. There's also a tight wine list with some CA selections, as well as French Sancerre and Austrian's Riesling - all good matches for the fiery cuisine.
The Asian leaning menu has street snacks like crab rendang dip, rib wings and an Indonesian sate, which could easily be phoned in, but actually tastes fresh with a chunky, herbed peanut sauce and well-cooked chicken. It's slightly pricey at $16 with the wings ringing in at $20.
Japanese curry comes in a large bowl filled to the brim with a rich coconut milk based broth, swimming with eggplant, bamboo shoots, squash and nori. It was delicious and filling and a better deal at $20. Share it because you'll probably want to finish that whole bowl by yourself, but you shouldn't.
The Pepes Ikan filled a banana leaf with Hawaiian cod in a spicy tomato chili paste. The moist, buttery cod held court to the spices of the chilis, but if you don't like heat in your dish, then I don't suggest ordering this dish. If you do, you'll be in heaven.
Rice is ordered as a side dish for $5 and there are a handful of desserts ranging from date cake to lemongrass coconut panna cotta for $10.
Wallflower Venice is serving up some bold, spicy Asian dishes. The prices are a little higher than you might expect for this type of cuisine in a laid back setting, but it's done well with friendly service.
609 Rose Avenue, Venice