By Abigail Lewis
Have you ever fantasized about the dream menu (and personal chef, of course) for your home kitchen? I found mine at Feed Body & Soul, where they cook with no refined sugar or oil and use almost exclusively organic, wild-caught and free-range ingredients. Laudable as that is, it wouldn’t be enough. Feed also delivers diverse and complex flavors, nutrient balance and pleasing presentation, as well as veggies with that elusively perfect amount of toothiness.
The expansive, modern room comes with a perk in high demand on Abbott Kinney Boulevard—its own parking lot. Entrance through massive double wooden doors opens to a four-sided bar in the center—perfect for hip socializers—where bartender Mikey crafts drinks made with only organic spirits and homemade syrups derived from coconut palm sugar. Mikey made me a “secret menu” take on an Eastside, muddling fresh mint and cucumber into a not-too-sweet or strong fresh grapefruit juice cocktail that I’ve tried unsuccessfully to replicate at half a dozen places since.
The outdoor patio is away from the street, so it’s quiet, but overhead shading allows abundant sunlight, so unless you’re an avid sun lover, check its position before choosing your table. We sat inside where seats are comfortable and the noise level is blessedly tolerable. Julie Roberts and Ewan McGregor weren’t there that particular evening, as they reportedly had been on others, but there were plenty of interesting diners to people-watch, and an arresting red sculpture suspended above the bar.
When we visited in June, we bypassed the popular but perhaps more ordinary Daily Spreads and began with a small plate of Monterrey Squid Salad. Red wine vinaigrette, radish and torpedo onion gave it a kick that both surprised and delighted. Next was a Springtime Chopper salad with Kumquat Dressing that veered from the expected to include asparagus and fennel.
It was tough to narrow our entrée choices from the happily fish-heavy menu, but we settled on two: Chili and Hemp Crusted Albacore with buckwheat soba noodles, pea tendrils, flavorful shimeji mushrooms and a smokey dashi broth. And Rotisserie Salmon with Roasted Pepper Tofu Sauce that looked like Hollandaise but tasted better and without the fat (Note to self: try this over poached eggs for brunch). We had this as a Bowl, for which we could mix ‘n’ match a grain, veggie and sauce, so there are other options, but this one is highly recommended.
A word here about the rotisserie cooking. Recent studies show that high cooking heat converts antioxidants in fat into free radicals, a serious risk with grilled foods. The rotisserie process also keeps both proteins and vegetables moist and tender in a way you’ll never achieve with roasting. So almost everything served here is cooked via rotisserie, and you can see it in action as part of the open kitchen.
And the water? High alkaline, infused with natural minerals.
Desserts custom-made by Betsylicious are mostly gluten free and vegan. We sampled acai sorbet with fresh fruit, vegan chocolate raspberry cake, lemon tart and a fresh berry pie that explodes with flavor. And how does Betsy keep that crust from turning to lead? It was lighter and crisper than most fat and gluten crusts.
Feed Body + Soul is doing so well that offshoots are already planned for Silver Lake and Manhattan Beach. Founder DeeAnna Staats’ previous company was L.A.-based 7 For All Mankind jeans, and clearly Angelenos appreciate that the food she serves ensures you’ll still fit into yours. Manager Keith Lukasavage told us Staats wanted to create a reasonably priced restaurant that serves the food she likes to eat three meals a day, and clearly she and I have the same taste. Anybody want to carpool from the Valley?
1239 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice 90291, 310.450.5550. Open daily 9am–11pm. www.feedbodyandsoul.com
❋❋ Want more LA restaurant reviews? Try one of these…
~ Pedaler’s Fork Calabasas
~ LA’s Most Romantic Restaurant: Inn of the Seventh Ray
~ Evo Kitchen West Hollywood
~ Napa Valley Grille Westwood
~ True Food Kitchen Santa Monica
~ Sonoma Wine Garden Santa Monica
~ Plate Restaurant Malibu