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Sep 12, 2010 11:38 AM

Gjelina's Wunderkind -- Travis Lett: The animal of Vegetables, The Mozart of Abott Kinney

The more I eat at Gjelina, the more my love and appreciation for Travis Lett's genius grows and grows. The consistent excellence of nearly everything I've had on so many occasions now from such a wunderkind is truly mind- and mouth-boggling. He gets pizza, he gets brunch, he gets lamb, he gets (especially) fish and vegetables -- and he gets it all SO right! Have you had the Bottarga Pizza? Jeez, is that good, or what?
And, to prove, that you cannot judge a book by its cover he's the furthest thing from my mental picture of a great chef (think Prudhomme, but even fatter): the guy looks like he was just rescued from a few years shipwrecked on desert Island or as if he has been in training for the Nairobi marathon team. In fact, the whole young, hyper-committed staff of Gjelina appears to me that they shouldn’t be able to cook a peanut butter and jelly sandwich properly and that they ought to be modeling underwear, not slinging such amazing world-class chow.
The place has infected me in a bad, bad, beautiful way -- can’t stop thinking about going my next visit!

1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, USA

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  1. I know the menu changes often but what are your favorite dishes?

    1 Reply
    1. re: toonoble

      I have loved any of the farmer's market veggies, buratta, dishes, crudo's, mussels, any pizza, and I love the lamb chops and fish.

      1. re: mollyomormon

        If you do mollyomormon, go to the location on AbBott Kinney...not the one I wrote about on Abott Kinney :)

      2. This has been on my list to try for a while. But the thought of bottarga pizza just moved it up to the top spot!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Rizza

          It's not always on the menu, but If you had a reservation (no mean feat) and called a few days in advance you might be able to get it special ordered.

          1. re: Ciao Bob

            Thank you! I wouldn't want to be disappointed. But merely the idea of bottarga pizza makes it worth the trip. I'm sure there will be plenty to satisfy me on the menu.

        2. I really love Gjelina too - particularly their vegetables, pizza, and of course the mouth-watering butterscotch pot de creme.

          In addition to actually eating the food, I absolutely adore their menus - they are a joy just to read. I bring the menu home with me each time I visit for inspiration for my own dinner parties.

          1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, USA

          1. All I can say about Gjelina's Crispy Niman Ranch Pork Belly with Soft Polenta, Bitter Greens & Apple Cider is wow.

            1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, USA