Sauce on Hampton, Venice-SM area
So I wondered about posting this because the place literally has less than 5 tables inside, but it's a great local place, just opened, serving solid food at VERY nice prices. We're not breaking into any new culinary territory here, people, just leaving very satisfied and happy without spending a fortune or eating unhealthily.
The owner is European, I think, and spent some time in Amsterdam (hence all his self taken photos of tulips adorning the walls). Decor is simple, yet inviting enough to make us want to linger a while, now that he's bought candles and turned the lights down.
There are 2 menus: Brunch (always available) and Lunch/Dinner. I have yet to try a breakfast dish in 4 visits. No alcohol yet, but we have byo'd each time, and they are kind enough to open it, provide glasses, and pour.
Dinner menu has appetizers and salads on one side and sandwiches/entrees on the other, along with a substantial selection of sides made from fresh veggies prepared very simply. Last night the farmer who grows the baby broccoli was dining next to us.
We started with an app of grilled polenta squares topped with rich sauteed mushrooms for $5.
Burgers are good for $8, and come in Beef, Turkey, and Veggie flavor, with a number of set "styles" to dress them up. I've been going with the most classic: good quality cheddar, applewood bacon, red onion and baby spinach (?).
There is a half day cooked pulled pork w/ 5 spice (very good!), either in entree form or sandwich($10/11), and a grilled cheese with some fancy cheese (i think i saw gruyere and fresh mozz) and more bacon.
Traditional entrees are limited to the aforementioned pork, a chicken dijon-esque dish, and a seared tuna, all of which attest to the simplicity of the food here.
The sides are killer, as well. Roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes w/ garlic, red cabbage cole slaw, simply sauteed baby broccoli, kale, etc, all are very fresh and served with a minimum of adornment. All are about $4.
I haven't tried any dessert other than the owner's homemade cookies (excellent) and a cup of seriously good coffee.
Bottom line: are you going to drive all the way from the valley? No. But if you live near here, as I do, you now have a great informal option to add to your roster. Beer and wine should be coming in a few months, and I want to make sure the place is full until then because I like having this neighborhood kind of place available.
It's on Hampton, one block East of Main St, just North of Rose, about where Venice becomes
Santa Monica. Enjoy!
Just to add on, three of us went there for brunch this past Sunday. It is a tiny place, but somehow it was still comfortable, didn't feel like we were elbowing anyone else, which can sometimes be an issue in small places.
My brunch cohorts both had the frittata, simple, well executed, if not anything to write home about.
I had the vegetable scramble. It was alright, not my absolute favorite, but then it was heavy on red peppers, which I don't neccessarily adore. Still, it was simple, light and very pleasant (if an omelet can be "pleasant"). We didn't have any potatos, but the table next to us got some sweet potatos that looked like a yummy breakfast cousin of my favorite sweet potato fry side dish.
I also spent a hunk of time staring at one man's food who got a breakfast burrito that looked delicious (he may be traumatized by my staring and drooling).
The best part of the breakfast though, really, was the free cookie the owner gave us, chocolate chip roasted macadamia nut, unbelievably delicious.
I agree with jdwdeville, I would make this a destination spot, but it's really wonderful for a fresh, simple neighborhood spot.
It's also a great space to take over if you're looking to host a small party. The owner said he would be doing those sort of small events with tasting menus and it sounded like his pricing would be exceptionally reasonable (maybe $25-$30/person)
Seems perfect if you're looking to have a little birthday party or the like...
Chef Sasson has added a top notch Turkey Meatloaf (served w/ chimmichurri when I had it) to the entree menu, as well as some great new sides. I had grilled marinated asparagus today and if they had served me just a plate of that, rather, mounds and mounds of that, I'dve been in heaven!
Further update: Have been here twice now. Simple but high quality food at a low price (Nothing over $11, except for an occasional special). The perfect place to go when you don't really feel like cooking but don't want to spend a lot of money or deal with Main St, just have a nice, tasty dinner. Honestly, for a basic overall dining experience, I would say this ranks above of the spots on the Main drag.
The waiters are knowledgable and incredibly friendly and helpful. They have added a bunch of tables outside and have heat lamps as well, so there's actually plenty of seating now if you don't mind being on the sidewalk. Not a lot of foot traffic and I prefer outside anyway.
The food: First time I got an egg dish "The Greek," which was basically a greek scramble (tomato, spinach, olives, feta) - hard to mess up, but delicious, came with a side salad and toast. Boyfriend got the dijon chicken, which lets you select two sides, and he loved it. Second time around I got a bowl of soup and one of their "tapas" - the polenta squares discussed above, which were special, but not unbelievable. The lentil vegetable soup was very filling and very tasty. Boyfriend got the dijon chicken again, which he said was not as good as the first time, a bit overcooked.
I guess not too much to add apart from the original reviews, but I'd like to see this place succeed so I figured I'd kick this post to the top of the boards in the hope someone will make a new discovery ;)
Love the turkey meatloaf, love all the sides I've tried and love the salmon. I see Chef Sasson every week at the farmer's market and it's clear he has a strong commitment to providing healthy, sustainably sourced food at a fair price. I really can't say enough good about this place.