Location: 1305 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291. (424) 465-3313
Date: March 31, 2018
Cuisine: Japanese Izakaya
Rating: Good flavors, uncomfortable chairs
Travis Lett has a little Venice empire helmed by Gjelina.
MTN, which is a modern, upscale, kinda westernized Izakaya (Japanese for “here, sake is served” or “stay/sit at sake shop”). The build out is cool and more than a little crazy with “burnt” or blackened wood.
Yuzu meringue pie. Not as tart and bracing as I would have hoped. Yuzu can be VERY tart and this would have been a good excuse for it.
Overall, I was impressed by MTN. The setting was gorgeous and nice atmosphere. Loud though. And I wish the seats were comfortable. Really not at all. And I hate high stools. But service was very good and friendly in that contemporary LA way — i.e. at the good end of that spectrum, but not traditional really knowledgeable service.
The food was surprisingly excellent. Yeah it’s not totally traditional in all ways, feels snazzed up and touch whitewashed, but the flavors were generally strong, very Japanese (with the weird-to-Americans edge polished off), and extremely enjoyable.
MTN has a low Yelp score (3) and this is total BS. Too much whining about the $20-24 ramen from the peanut gallery. First of all, this isn’t even a ramen place. Yeah, it has some fancy ramens, but it’s not Shin Sen Gumi where everything is dirt cheap on the menu AND in the kitchen. It’s not just “order your bowl of ramen and toppings.” It’s a full Izakaya menu that happens to have a couple ramens. They don’t even really belong because they are very hard to split. But come on, that crab ramen is full of Dungeness crab meat. It CAN’T be $8 like a bowl of over salted mediocre tonkotsu. Plus they pay an Abbot Kinney rent and have a crazy blackened wood hipster build out!