With its sun-splashed patio and colorful decor, Roy Choi’s Sunny Spot is tailor-made to host a fantastic brunch. Several months after its opening, the Venice restaurant is debuting a much-anticipated new Brunch Menu this weekend. Earlier this week, the Sunny Spot crew took the new menu for a test run at a hosted friends and family preview. By the time I arrived, my fellow imbibers Caroline on Crack and The Savory Hunter had already worked their way through a few dishes and a cocktail or two.
As I looked over the new menu, I sampled the remnants of the Sunny Spot Egg Plate: Korean style confit eggs, jerk fingerling potatoes, and mojo glazed grilled pork belly and hanger steak. Though the menu says “pork belly OR hanger steak,” my blogger buddies had cleverly asked for both in their Egg Plate, and I’m definitely going to do the same next time.
To help shake off the effects of the previous night’s Cinco de Derby / Kentucky de Mayo festivities, the Bloody Mary (vodka, Dirty Sue olive juice, tomato, Jamaican jerk spice, celery) was just what the doctor ordered. Along with the Piña Colada and the Jamaican Coffee, the Bloody Mary is one of three new brunch cocktails from Sunny Spot barman Brian Butler. The remaining drinks on the list were culled from the regular menu.
The standout dish was the Salt Cod Brandade Benedict: poached eggs, coconut hollandaise and cherry tomato vinaigrette. Every bite offers a different mix of flavors: pierce the eggs and let the yolks run, then stir them with the hollandaise over the salt cod brandade fritters. Alternate with a hit of acid from the tomato vinaigrette, and you’ll soon be in brunch nirvana.
Of the new brunch cocktails, the can’t-miss is the Piña Colada, made with Antigua rum, pineapple and ginger coconut sorbet. It’s a superb version of the classic Puerto Rican cocktail, with the sorbet (available as a dessert during dinner) providing body and a bit of snap. Summer has arrived early, served in a chilled coupe and garnished with a mint leaf.
The sun was peaking, and even with the tree cover the patio began to heat up. The next dish matched the rising temps with a serious kick of its own: Smoked Baby Back Ribs in a jerk barbeque glaze with orange wedges. If the Eggs Benedict are the quintessential brunch entree, these ribs are the epitome of a beachfront Caribbean BBQ: fall-off-the-bone tender, smoky and spicy.
Though we had lingered for a couple of hours, several brunch items will have to wait until another visit, including: Savory Festival Bread (rum honey, guava jam, goat’s milk butter), Hearts of Palm Salad (pineapple vinaigrette, pickled shishito peppers, melon, carrot coconut puree), Jamaican Oxtail Stew (spicy gremolata, tripe, plantain chips, root vegetables).
The Bridgetown Swizzle was the perfect conclusion to the preview: Barbados rum, Averna, falernum, lime, bitters. KCRW DJ Jeremy Sole was laying down the beats, and after you take a seat at the burlap-wrapped bar and sip from the Bridgetown Swizzle, you’ll swear you can hear the ocean nearby.
Sunny Spot serves brunch on Saturday and Sunday, 11am-3pm.
822 Washington Blvd. (at Abbot Kinney)
Venice, CA 90292