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Sauce on Hampton, Venice-SM area

j
jdwdeville Mar 12, 2009 11:34 AM

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!

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  1. c
    Cebca RE: jdwdeville Mar 12, 2009 11:53 AM

    This is, literally, across the street from me but I have not yet checked it out. Thanks!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Cebca
      j
      jdwdeville RE: Cebca Mar 12, 2009 06:25 PM

      please do check it out. cool neighborhood spots like this deserve notice!

    2. q
      QualityMart RE: jdwdeville Mar 16, 2009 11:34 PM

      So is this place going to last longer than any of the previous incarnations here?

      1 Reply
      1. re: QualityMart
        j
        jdwdeville RE: QualityMart Mar 19, 2009 09:14 AM

        i sure hope so, because i like it. it was full when i drove by last night at 8 or so...

      2. mstinawu RE: jdwdeville Mar 17, 2009 08:15 PM

        I found a very favorable review here: http://tannazie.blogspot.com/2009/03/.... I will probably stop by next time I'm in the area.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mstinawu
          mstinawu RE: mstinawu Apr 3, 2009 09:39 AM

          I finally went and yes "serving solid food at VERY nice prices"!

        2. hyacinthgirl RE: jdwdeville Mar 23, 2009 04:42 PM

          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...

          1. j
            jdwdeville RE: jdwdeville Apr 8, 2009 04:38 PM

            Update:
            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!

            5 Replies
            1. re: jdwdeville
              c
              Cebca RE: jdwdeville Jul 13, 2009 04:02 PM

              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 ;)

              1. re: Cebca
                Phurstluv RE: Cebca Mar 19, 2010 09:06 AM

                I wouldn't call 6-8 more seats outside, "Plenty of seating".

                1. re: Phurstluv
                  b
                  bulavinaka RE: Phurstluv Mar 19, 2010 10:13 AM

                  Not meaning to sound snide in any way, but given its size and the number of seats, 6-8 more seats seems a lot.

                  1. re: bulavinaka
                    Phurstluv RE: bulavinaka Mar 19, 2010 01:38 PM

                    I know what you mean, and agree, but it's just that to say "they added a bunch of tables outside..so there's actually plenty of seating" is misleading into thinking they have a good size patio or something. It's only three or four two tops on the side walk.

              2. re: jdwdeville
                mollyomormon RE: jdwdeville Mar 19, 2010 02:22 PM

                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.

              3. s
                smgradman RE: jdwdeville Mar 18, 2010 09:15 PM

                The owner is of Persian descent. And, unfortunately, I suspect someone in the neighborhood complained, so BYOB is no longer allowed (state law prohibits BYOB if you don't have a liquor license - but it's only enforced if someone complains). Still great food, healthy, tasty, and inexpensive.

                4 Replies
                1. re: smgradman
                  k
                  kevin RE: smgradman Mar 19, 2010 11:18 AM

                  what does persian descent have to do with a BYOB or beer/wine license?

                  1. re: kevin
                    d
                    dinvenice RE: kevin Mar 19, 2010 11:39 AM

                    The exact same question came to my mind...

                    1. re: dinvenice
                      goodhealthgourmet RE: dinvenice Sep 6, 2010 08:13 PM

                      late to the party on this one, but i think that was meant to be a separate comment in response to this part of the OP:
                      "The owner is European, I think, and spent some time in Amsterdam (hence all his self taken photos of tulips adorning the walls). "

                  2. re: smgradman
                    westsidegal RE: smgradman Mar 19, 2010 02:28 PM

                    how unfortunate!
                    being a cynic, i wonder if the that "someone" was a competing restaurant. . . .

                    i enjoy the egg white omlette they serve at this place.
                    i especially like that i can have a well-prepared side salad instead of potatoes.

                    for those who like to be able to eat out without 'spending' your complete daily calorie allotment, there are a LOT of good choices here. maybe because of their proximity to gold's gym, they offer a number of tasty high-protein, low-carb, low-fat, options.

                  3. j
                    jdwdeville RE: jdwdeville Aug 31, 2010 06:12 PM

                    As an up to this old post-
                    Sauce on Hampton has expanded into the space next door that formerly held a muscleman beefcake vitamin supplement place and now is a decent-sized restaurant!
                    Went back for the "Charleston Cha-Sui Pulled Pork" and a side of red cabbage cole slaw and they are as good as ever.
                    Chef Sasson swung by the table to let us now he is now doing a regular prix fixe THIRTY COURSE tasting menu in the new room- said it takes about 3 hours...

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: jdwdeville
                      Servorg RE: jdwdeville Aug 31, 2010 06:42 PM

                      Did he say what the cost of the tasting menu would be?

                      -----
                      Sauce On Hampton
                      259 Hampton Dr, Venice, CA 90291

                      1. re: Servorg
                        hrhboo RE: Servorg Aug 31, 2010 07:09 PM

                        They do a family-style tasting menu every Thursday night, $30 or $35 for over a dozen courses (seats 24 people and takes around 2.5-3 hours). Really fantastic deal. The details and ingredients for the courses are usually posted on their Facebook page.

                        1. re: hrhboo
                          j
                          jdwdeville RE: hrhboo Aug 31, 2010 07:19 PM

                          Where'd I get thirty then?! Man- I must be spacing out... I remember him saying 3 hours so you must be right.
                          Sorry all for the hyperbole!

                          1. re: jdwdeville
                            hrhboo RE: jdwdeville Aug 31, 2010 09:08 PM

                            $30-35 for a dozen courses is still a really good deal and definitely worth checking out :)

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