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The Beach Gourmet: Brickhouse Kitchen: Marvelous Masonry

Just off Abbot Kinney in Venice one can find a mosaic of streets of a distinctly unconventional character. Traditional yet progressive, rebellious yet artistic, this neighborhood boasts history in spades. Some of this history, both illustrious and of a more notorious quality, is cemented in the canvas of the numerous red brick structures scattered throughout the area. One of these buildings is home to the aptly named Brickhouse Kitchen, tucked away on Hampton Drive, just a stone’s throw from the world famous Gold’s Gym.

This eclectic neighborhood café is more hippie than haute cuisine and more groovy than gourmet, and features a breakfast/brunch/lunch menu that is fun and creative, and as long as Venice folklore itself.

Under a hand-scratched slogan reading “you are what you eat, be delicious,” emblazoned on a chalkboard above the counter, the clientele is very “Venice,” and contemporary Venice personalities range from skateboard fashion kings and queens and avant-garde artsy types to young families, and all can be found here enjoying a lazy weekend meal.

The décor at the Brickhouse Kitchen is punctuated with colorful artwork and pepper-shaped fancy lights. With a row of booths and scattered tables, the design makes the most of a relatively small space without feeling cramped.

The menu has creatively named items such as the Pope Omelet (Italian sausage, pepper jack cheese, bell peppers, Roma tomatoes, and grilled onions, $9.50), El Niño Omelet (grilled artichoke hearts, onions, mushrooms with herbs, white wine, and Swiss cheese, $9.20), and a raspberry, blueberry, watermelon, honeydew, and red grape smoothie called La Happiness ($3.95). There is plenty of amusement available in just reading the robust menu.

One of the most cunning of these linguistic twists is a delightful-sounding Lox Ness Omelet (herb smoked salmon, Roma tomatoes, fresh dill sour cream, and green onions, $9.95). This description was irresistible to us, and so we ordered it, along with the tofu scramble (fresh veggies, grilled onions, sliced avocado, and tofu on a bed of rice with teriyaki sauce, $8.50).

Service was sharp, with our attendant, Ainjel, descending from the heavens (well, the kitchen, actually) replete with said dishes, an ethereal smile, and a vibrant aura, in a matter of a few short minutes.

The Lox Ness omelet was accompanied by a handful of breakfast potatoes and toast, and proved to be well prepared, with a succulent piece of juicy smoked salmon and fresh Roma tomatoes wrapped in a tidy omelet, and a dollop of sour cream crowning off this good-value creation. It was filling and fresh, and the only improvement could have been the potatoes. Although they tasted okay, they did look as if they had been expecting my visit for a while.

The tofu scramble was an absolute gem. Broccoli, green pepper, onions, tofu, and brown rice, all swimming in a very tasty teriyaki sauce, with generous slices of fresh avocado, made for a most satisfying brunch experience. Highly recommended, and again, at just $8.50, great value.

The Brickhouse Kitchen proved to be yet another Westside secret that has a unique ambience and good wholesome food that I am happy to have discovered, and pleased to discuss.

Brickhouse Kitchen, 826 Hampton Drive, 310.581.1639.

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