Location: 1305 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291. (310) 299-9735
Date: July 17, 2021
Cuisine: Oaxacan-ish Hipster Mexican
Rating: Tasty, but the service was horrendous
For the last several years this space was home to MTN which was a Hipster Izakaya that I actually really enjoyed. Under the same owners it rebooted during the pandemic into a sort of “Oaxacan Inspired” Mexican place. It should be noted that Valle has subsequently closed for good and the owners (part of the Gjelina group) have walked away from the property.
This being post lockdown they turned the former parking lot roof garage into a fairly cute patio.
From my cellar: 2012 Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner Reserve Tradition. AG 93. A haunting nose combines bittersweet perfumed iris, saffron and faint hints of smoky Latakia tobacco with intimations of grapefruit and apple that go on to supply satisfying primary juiciness of a satin-textured, strikingly buoyant palate. A mouthwatering upwelling suggestive of salted veal stock complements the inner-mouth perfume of a soothingly lingering tobacco- and pepper-tinged finish. (Drink between 2015-2030)
Verdolaga. Purslane, plums, pepitas, mint-lemon dressing.
Tomato Salad. Heirloom tomatoes, seasalt, gomashio, epazote, crispy shallots.
Coliflor Rostizada con Mole Verde. Roasted cauliflower, green mole, pepitas seeds.
Baked Fish Collar. Marinated in mojo de ajo, arugula, red onion jalepeno.
Quesadilla de Flor de Calabaza. Squash Blossom, blue corn tortilla, quesillo, epazote.
Pork Belly taco.
Barbacoa de Borrego taco.
Carne Asada. Grass fed hanger steak, grilled onion, guacamole, salsa molcajete, served with tortillas.
Pescado. Local rock cod vermillion, potatoes, tomatillo salsa.
Pork Chop en Mole Negro. Peades & Barnett pork chop, mole negro, pickled red onion, sesame seed, served with tortillas.
Barbacoa de Borrego. Cabbage, cilantro, lime, fermented chile salsa.
Churros con crema de chocolate.
The food was actually pretty tasty with strong zesty flavors but let me get into the “experience.”
While the staff was generally nice, the service was beyond bad. Textbook bad. It took about 30 minutes to get the waiter to come over. We asked for wine glasses. They never came. I had to go behind the bar and get them myself. It was probably 45-50 minutes in that we ordered. The poor single waiter had the entire patio to himself. He spent all of his time stuck at the POS (Point of Sale computer). They used the dubious system where the POS kicks orders in and runners bring it out — the waiter doesn’t bring (or check) anything. In this case nothing was coordinated. Bus boys would clear the plates and silverware. Food would come randomly with no plates or silverware. Waiter was never there. We would grab bus boys and ask for plates. I ended up going behind the bar again multiple times and bringing my own plates and silverware to the table. This happened for the entire meal. It took a good 1.5 hours longer than it should have. There was no coordination at all.
At the end I cornered the manager and gave her a friendly (but stern) earful as a fellow restaurant owner. She apologized vaguely and made excuses. She wasn’t listening. Textbook bad management.
It should be noted again that Valle has closed permanently. They blame the landlord on their web page. I have my doubts.