Venice: The Last Days of Beechwood
It was recently announced Beechwood is to shutter. This is nearly on the heels of Chef Jamie Lauren leaving and Chef Roy Choi retooling the comfort food driven menu. The new West African restaurant that’ll replace Beechwood will open late Fall/early Winter. Chef Roy will create the menu for the West Indian concept.
So now is the time to get the last of Beechwood’s food by Chef Roy, Food and Wine Magazine’s 2010 Best New Chef. He created the Kogi empire that later expanded to the food menu at Alibi Room, Chego and A-Frame. With Beechwood, the menu is closer to what he was doing when he was a hotel chef. I was invited to check out happy hour which is every day from 5 to 7 p.m. There’s a late-night happy hour Thursday through Saturday from 10 p.m. to Midnight.
We ordered the calamari, sliders and chicken wings. My favorite was the chicken wings which had been deboned, confitted and then fried with a slightly sweet Asian-sytle sauce. Yum!
The sliders were great too, very juicy. The calamari was very well-fried, light and oil-free. I almost didn’t need the sauce. I would have been happy with just a squeeze of lemon and a little salt and pepper.
I need to have my veggies and picked the Vegetable Harvest which was a melange of bok choy, kale and mushrooms. The dish changes with whatever is fresh. I loved the sprinkling of sesame seeds. It makes the simple dish even more homey and warm.
For cocktails, I tried the Lion’s Tail (bourbon, honey, lime, all-spice dram, Angostura bitters) and the Shakedown (rum, house-made spiced hibiscus syrup, lime). The cocktails are well-suited for the outdoor patio. I wouldn’t mind trying some of the tequila and mezcal cocktails next time. The D.F.R. (tequila, Aperol, lime, demera syrup, Angostura and grapefruit bitters) sounded excellent as did the cachaca cocktail, de Leon (Leblon cachaca, lime, sugar, serrano chile, cucumber).
I couldn’t say no to dessert. The ding dong is a petite thing, entirely manageable for a table to take down. The thick chocolate was rich and very good.
After viewing the menu, I would love to come back for dinner. A ribeye for $24? That’s practically free on the Westside. The 8 oz filet is also $24! I would definitely order the loaded potato to go with along with the red beans and collard greens.