JAMAICA COMES WEST
Roy Choi's friendly new Caribbean bistro
Roy Choi is arguably the nation’s hippest star chef. The 42-year-old Korean-American started the gourmet-food-truck craze, oversees thriving restaurants and created a recent uproar when he blogged that he was thinking of leaving food service--or going vegetarian.
Not to worry: Choi’s newest restaurant is going strong, serving his latest fusion cuisine--Caribbean--to dinner patrons and weekend brunchers hungry for a good time. Sunny Spot in Venice is a bright place with a big patio and a reggae soundtrack, serving unique Caribbean interpretations such as Scotch bonnet–spiced short ribs, mofongo and juicy spiced roast lamb (served with lettuce leaves to wrap with pickled mango).
Everything’s big here: the flavors, the 183-person capacity in three seating areas (only the indoor Rum Den takes reservations) and the design scheme--rich blue walls, kitschy chandeliers and vinyl barstools. The bar, too, is a place of bold tastes: Thanks to bartender Brian Butler, an old-fashioned is made with 12-year-old Nicaraguan rum instead of whiskey, and Champagne cocktails come touched with white rum and brandy.
After a couple of those, we dare anyone to leave with their island jones unsatisfied.
Sunny Spot, 822 Washington Blvd., Venice; 310-448-8884 or sunnyspotvenice.com