1616 Abbott Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
Eat, then Drink.
Chef Vartan Abgaryan’s new restaurant could become your new go-to spot for dinner in Venice this summer. Yours Truly, which opened in March, sits right on Abbot Kinney across the street from the already trendy Gjelina, and perfectly encapsulates the ethos of this neighborhood. The restaurant feels smaller than one might think from the outside, but still accommodates a full dining room and back bar with plenty of light. You can’t go wrong starting with a sparkling wine and the Parker House Rolls coated with “beurre de baratte” butter. The warm, golden rolls are prepared in a batch-bake which allows for the added fun of pulling them apart yourself.
Next, I opted for a dry Sancerre with the roasted carrots that the staff could not speak more highly of. The soft carrots are complimented by the crunchy texture of toasted hazelnuts and sourdough crisps. However, it’s the XO sauce and carrot top sauce vert that really steal the show, creating dynamic flavor profiles that I rarely experience in a root vegetable. The fresh burrata hidden underneath the carrots isn’t necessary as it doesn’t add a new quality or exceptional taste, but it certainly doesn’t detract from the rest of the plate. This dish contains a little surprise in every bite.
The most unique item on the menu is definitely their twist on the classic Cacio e Pepe. Beware, this is not for those with an aversion to oil. Instead of the traditional pasta, Abgaryan opts to use fingerling potatoes as the starch, which melts in the mouth. In keeping with the original recipe, the other ingredients utilized are black peppercorn, pecorino, and parmesan. However, we do get the added umami of an egg yolk nestled in the center like a birds’ nest. Break the yolk and let it run.
Finally, on to the main. I ordered the Bucatini “Carbonara” with squid ink, uni, trout roe, and bottarga. Unfortunately, they were out of bucatini and prepared the dish with conchiglie instead. Although I prefer the nostalgia of swirling long narrow tubes around a fork like I did growing up eating my mother’s spaghetti and meatballs, the al dente style shells formed an excellent vessel for the chipotle butter. The squid ink, garnished with fresh basil, was not overpowering and the fish eggs created little explosions in every mouthful. The crown of the dish, the uni, adds a velvety texture that rounds out the dish perfectly.
I expect nothing less in a meal from the acclaimed chef of DTLA’s 71Above. Although the desserts all sounded delightful, I opted to walk down the block to finish off my evening at Salt & Straw.
Lemon curd with granita, Banana nut sunday, Chocolate cake latte.