Dining at Yours Truly for lunch may inspire you to take the rest of the day off. The sunny and bright eatery, located near Venice Beach along the Abbot Kinney restaurant row, has diners lingering longer during the day, enjoying dishes prepared by executive chef Vartan Abgaryan.
Abgaryan partnered with Paul Pruitt and Dave Reiss to open an 85-seat dining room featuring a dinner and brunch menu. In 2020, they debuted a lunch menu, offering many of the favorites from both those menus.
Sitting with a group next to the front window, we started with a colorful crudité bowl including bite-size pieces of romensco broccoli, cauliflower, anise-like fennel and watermelon radish, all displayed on crushed ice. In the center of the bowl, burnt onion dip was used to lightly coat each vegetable.
Crunchy artisan baguettes were served from the neighboring Gjusta bakery. Gjusta makes their bread using organic flours and bakes the dough until it’s dark with the edges nearly burnt. The flavor is bold with a hint of nuttiness.
A colorful salad was served alongside the bread featuring large and crisp cream-colored Castlefranco radicchio leaves with a splash of wine-red color. Layers of thinly sliced apples, chopped dates, garlic, dill, candied walnuts and blue cheese completed the dish.
A favorite around the table was Vartan’s slightly spicy Nashville Hot Shrimp sandwich heightened with a tangy slaw, pickled mustard seeds and dill aioli, served with crunchy handmade potato chips. Since I am a bit heat-averse, I took a small bite and appreciated the vibrancy of these Nashville-style giant prawns. They were lightly coated and crackled with a medium-level heat. The aroma of dried peppers tickled my nose after every bite.
The chef loves to present colorful and appealing fare like corn waffles layered with smoked salmon and a large drop of cream cheese, revved up with an infusion of jalapeños and scallions.
Vegetarians have a choice of a handful of dishes on the menu including parmesan-dusted crispy cauliflower on a fragrant, spicy Italian bagna cauda sauce. The olive oil, chopped anchovies and garlic intensify the coated florets.
Another vibrant vegetarian dish is a deconstructed rice bowl topped with an array of sliced red peppers, a peanut pistu, smoked soy, cilantro leaves, crispy shallots and an egg yolk in the center. Slices of lime can be squeezed on top before stirring all the fresh ingredients together.
For those looking for a burger during lunch, the chef makes a classic dry-aged burger patty topped with melted cheddar, caramelized onions, pickles, lettuce, tomato and pickle slices, served with a cone of hand-cut fries.
Meet co-workers at Yours Truly for lunch, dinner or brunch, and be prepared to stay longer than normal in its comfortable setting. Lunch service begins at 11:30 a.m. during the week. The brunch menu is offered at 11 a.m during the weekend. Dinner service begins nightly at 5 p.m. $$
1616 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310)396-9333.
This review is featured in the Feb. 6, 2020 issue of the Beverly Press.