I've been making quite a few runs to LAX, and Venice area is always a nice place to stop for dinner, so I've been trying different places. This is a backpost from a few weeks ago, when I hit James' Beach for the first time.
The place was pretty hopping outside on the patio, where you first come in, but is pretty quiet inside the dimly-lit main dining room. We sat inside on a booth. James' Beach offers a consistent special entree every day and on Tuesdays it was chicken pot pie. I actually wanted to try the Monday's Special (Short Ribs), but I guess not this time a round.
We ordered a smoked duck salad (from the specials menu) as appetizer:The smoked duck was good, but we thought they didn't give quite enough. The peaches added a really nice flavor and goes well with the blue cheese. There was too much blue cheese for us, but since you can easily pick those out it wasn't a problem. Overall a light refreshing salad.
I ordered the pot roasted briskets:
The briskets were a bit fatty and the sauce a bit salty. It's definitely "comfort food" and hit the spot, but wasn't anything special.
My friend ordered the Sand Dabs and it was actually really delicious!
I liked it better than my brisket. It was light yet flavorful and the spinach, and especially the golden raisins played really well together.
Now, I didn't know what sand dabs were prior to this, so I looked it up and according to www.ochef.com:
"Alan Davidson, author of The Oxford Companion to Food and one of the world's foremost authorities on seafood, refers to the sand dab as a European fish, found in the North Atlantic. It is a flatfish, with a brown back, and can reach 16 inches in length, although is often closer to 10. He says it is "a good fish, with a pleasing flavour, well suited to being fried.It's so great when you find out about some new food and liking it :)
The Summer Peach Crisp from their Specials' menu was pretty good - noticeably fresh peaches that are still crisp upon biting.
But, the one that takes the cake (or pie) for me was their Cherry Pie:
It wasn't too sweet, the whole cherries they have in there were awesome and it also had a nice crust. As far as cherry desserts go, this was one of my favorites. I would definitely get this again next time around (if they're still serving it)!
The service at James' Beach is kind of slow and the noise level depends on whether you're sitting inside or outside (way quieter inside), but it has solid food. I'll probably be coming here again when I have to make a run to LAX.
60 North Venice Boulevard
Venice, California 90291