Amazing Salmon Belly, Oil-Cured Sardines, Lox, Herring and Rockin' Breakfast! - Gjusta


#1

Huge shoutout to wienermobile and all my fellow FTC’ers that kept talking about Gjelina’s new sister restaurant back on our old board. In another curious spelling Gjelina opened up a swell breakfast / brunch place in sunny Venice a while back, known as Gjusta.

I’ve been a few times now, but figured we should start a thread and throw some food pix up to help populate our new home. :smile:

Went today and had yet another wonderful meal. Gjusta is a casual breakfast / brunch spot, with limited seating, but “oh so amazing!” handmade pastries, breakfast items and their smoked fish case.

When you walk in, it’s a bit of a mad house: There are actually 2 sections to order from: The front near the entrance is for anything on the menu (including breakfast, sandwiches, pastries, etc.). The 2nd section towards the back is for anything from their fresh salads / deli case. You can order drinks at either station.

Started off with their Housemade Buttermilk Biscuit:

Flaky, delicate, buttery. Sweet! :smile: I think I like the Maple Bacon Biscuit from Huckleberry more, but this is a nice alternative.

Blueberry Financier:

Since their pastries change daily, I’ve never had the Blueberry Financier before today, but it was moist, light and SO GOOD! The Blueberries were delightful.

Anchovy Toast:

Ridiculous! Served on their housemade bread (baked fresh daily), their Anchovies were fragrant, bursting with umami flavor, and not very salty. Pretty amazing stuff.

Corned Beef Hash:

I’ve never had their Corned Beef Hash in all my visits, but I kept meaning to try it. Gjusta’s version is the “fresh Corned Beef Hash”-style, so not like the traditional old-school versions found in diners of old, etc. I prefer that OG style, like the one served at Langer’s (awesome), but I respect what Gjusta’s serving here. It’s fresh chunks of potato and corned beef grilled and served with 2 sunny side eggs on top. Mix in the yolk with the corned beef and it’s all good. :smile:

I usually get their Egg Sandwich (Collards, Gruyere, Bacon, Hot Sauce), which is straight up legit. Definitely recommended if you go.

Finally, their Smoked Fish Plate (5 oz):

After the disaster that was Wexler’s Deli’s Smoked Fish Plate, I had to make sure I wasn’t off base, so I had to order Gjusta’s Smoked Fish Plate to make sure I wasn’t crazy.

You can choose which fish you want, or you can have the “Chef’s Special” which is basically like sushi “omakase,” letting the chef choose various cuts to serve that day.

Started with the Smoked River Trout:

Added a bit from their generous condiments and put it on a slice of their housemade Sprouted Rye…

Definitely one of the highlights of my weekend! :heart: Their house-Smoked River Trout is perfectly balanced with a touch of smokiness, silky buttery goodness and just great smoked fish. Absolutely destroys Wexler’s Deli.

Oil-Cured Sardines:

I paired these with some of their Heirloom Tomatoes and a bit of sliced Red Onion. Yet another winner. SO GOOD. Lovely, briny, heck yah! :smile:

Pickled Herring:

Their Pickled Herring is pretty unique. It stands out from their other fish with a real meatiness to each bite. It’s not salty (again, not like Wexler’s salt bomb), and it stands up to the Seeded Rye, but it was my least favorite fish today.

Herb Gravlax:

I like their Classic Lox, but their Herb Gravlax is pretty standout as well. Really supple, tender salmon. I really like Gjusta’s preparation as the salt never overpowers any of their housemade Smoked / Cured Fish. This was another higlight; just awesome.

Having tried it a few times now, I’d have to say Gjusta’s House-Smoked Fish is a real highlight and worth trying if you ever get a chance. SO GOOD. :smile:

The one weakness with Gjusta is their limited seating. They’ve added a few more areas to stand and eat or sit in the back area to eat, but if they had a full-on sit down service, they’d easily be one of the great places to enjoy a sunny Brunch in L.A. :smile:

Even with the limited seating, Gjusta rocks.

Gjusta
320 Sunset Ave.
Venice, CA 90291
Tel: (310) 314-0320

http://www.gjusta.com/

Update: 2nd Visit -

It seems with each passing visit to Gjusta, I love it more and more.

One thing I forgot to mention last time is their great fresh salad & prepared foods case. I’ve really enjoyed their Haricot Vert Salads, Heirloom Tomato creations and a couple other salads over the past year.

Bialy Egg (Sesame Bialy, Arugula, Gruyere, Harissa Ketchup, Bacon):

Shout out to @PorkyBelly @wienermobile for the recommendation! I love their Egg Sandwich (one of my go-to’s), but thanks to PB and wienermobile, I tried their Bialy Egg today…

It’s crunchy from the toasting, yet has a nice doughy mouthfeel. The Arugula, crisped Bacon and slightly runny bright Sunny Side Up Egg all comes together and is perfect with the Harissa Ketchup. :smile:

Gjusta also serves sandwiches. Usually not a sandwich fan, as most “sandwiches” I get in most cities feels like a throwaway (throw some veggies, sliced meat, cheese on dry bread, done). But there are a few standout places I’ve found that change that notion. Mendocino Farms has a few sandwiches that are actually pretty solid and miles ahead of the typical “sandwich” in mainstream chains.

But Gjusta’s Tuna Conserva (Olive Bread, Caper Aioli, Roasted Peppers, Salted Cucumbers, Radish, Sprouts, Tapenade)

Is just STUPIDLY GOOD! Wow. :smile:

While it may look like a “Tuna Salad Sandwich” it’s like the most awesome, moist, crunchy, soft, PERFECT Tuna Sandwich I have ever had! :open_mouth: It is seriously THE best Tuna Sandwich I’ve ever had.

The Tuna Conserva has this luscious taste, and the textural contrast of crunchy, fresh-baked in-house Olive Bread, Roasted Peppers, the fresh, herbaly Sprouts and more… FTW. Another highlight of my weekend, but not topping the Live Uni Udon at Raku. :wink:

Ordered a Fish Plate (Small) to try out more of their uber House-smoked Seafood:

Love their condiments and amazing house-baked bread:

First up, Hot-Smoked King Mackerel:

There’s a lush, juicy quality, and the King Mackerel is cooked perfectly. Tender, flaky, and not too salty at all. Paired perfectly with the Heirloom Tomatoes. :smile:

Cold-Smoked Lox:

Beautiful, super tender, lightly salted. Amazing as always.

Smoked Salmon Collar:

Thanks to @PorkyBelly @wienermobile and many others for this rec! Just look at the Smoked Salmon Collar! Gorgeous, and the taste? Matched the visuals. :wink: Subtle smokiness, lightly salted, delicate.

Smoked Salmon Belly:

I’ve enjoyed just about all the Smoked Fish from Gjusta in all my visits, but the Smoked Salmon Belly is just RIDICULOUS! So tender, LUSCIOUS, delicate and just perfect with a bit of the fresh-baked bread and some Red Onion slices, or some Heirloom Tomatoes, or by itself. :smile: Another highlight of my weekend! :heart:

Gjusta has probably the best smoked fish offerings I’ve had in LA/OC. Blows away Wexler’s by a long shot. And their breakfast / brunch menu is always so good. :smile:

Gjusta
320 Sunset Ave.
Venice, CA 90291
Tel: (310) 314-0320

http://www.gjusta.com/

Update 3:

We had planned to go some place else, but @CiaoBob just had to go and tempt me with his last visit, so we found ourselves back at Gjusta again. :smile:

Blackberry Danish:

Visually arresting, their Blackberry Danish was just OK. It wasn’t overly sweet, but there was a bit of a tartness to it that made it less appealing.

Scone:

I’m no Scone expert, but I thought it was good.

Their salad / deli case keeps tempting me every time I visit. So beautiful and so tasty. :laughing:

Porchetta Butcher (Baguette, Pesto, Horseradish):

Their Porchetta is pretty awesome, but something I can’t have too often, LOL. Tender, fatty, pork goodness.

Smoked Brisket Butcher (Baguette, Natural Jus):

This is a pretty epic sandwich. Great smokiness, tender Brisket, although a bit too salty. Otherwise, pretty great Brisket Sandwich. Thanks @Bigmouth :smile:

Chicken, Cabbage & Dumpling Soup:

You would think that with a breakfast / bakery specialty (and smoked fish!) that their Chicken Soup might be a throwaway item.

Nope.

Gjusta continues to deliver: This is a fantastic Homemade Chicken Soup. Light, not too salty, warming, wonderful! The Cabbage, Chicken and Dumplings all make this a perfect soup for the oncoming Winter. Seriously, one of the best Chicken Soups I’ve had in a while. :heart:

Chickpea Salad with Green Chermoula Dressing:

Another winner from their salad case: Just perfectly cooked Chickpeas, and an incredible Green Chermoula Dressing! It’s exotic, interesting and grabs your attention. Delish! :smile:

Cauliflower & Dandelion Salad:

Yet another great salad! The Cauliflower is tender and balanced with the Dandelion Greens and White Wine Vinaigrette. Not too salty or tart; just a balanced, wonderful salad! :smile:

Pork & Green Chile Hand Pie:

Besides looking sexy, I’ve been avoiding deli case hand pies and empanadas ever since being burned by salt overload that is Whole Foods’ offerings in their salad deli case. I’ve seen it so often at Gjusta, but never order any of them.

I’m glad I took a chance today. :smile: Flaky crust gives way to tender, gorgeous Stewed Pork and a pretty awesome Green Chile sauce. It’s not very spicy, and just pure WIN. :smile:

Prime Rib Butcher (Baguette, Horseradish):

And the reason I found myself back here: Thanks to @CiaoBob’s weekend report about the Prime Rib Sandwich, it was like this gnawing curiosity that somehow drove me back to Gjusta, LOL! :laughing:

But seriously, Gjusta’s Prime Rib Sandwich is made up of layers of thinly sliced, perfectly cooked Prime Rib. It’s super tender, luscious and melts in your mouth! The freshly grated Horseradish is perfect. Seriously one of the best Prime Rib Sandwiches I’ve ever had! :heart:

One regret we had: As we were leaving, I remembered @bulavinaka’s recommendation for their fresh-baked Nori Bread. :frowning: I keep forgetting to buy a loaf. Next time for sure! :smile:

Thinking about it, it never ceases to amaze me just how good Gjusta can be. You’d think there’s no way a restaurant should be able to excel at Baked Goods (their fresh-baked Bread ROCKS), their Breakfast items are awesome (Egg Sandwich and Bialy Egg, etc.), their Smoked Fish selections are the best I’ve ever had in the city, their Salads (changes daily) are always enjoyable, and their Lunch Sandwiches turn out to be pretty fantastic!

Really enjoyed our trip this weekend. Thanks @CiaoBob and everyone for the sandwich recommendations! :smile:

Gjusta
320 Sunset Ave.
Venice, CA 90291
Tel: (310) 314-0320

http://www.gjusta.com/

Update 4:

Thanks to @kevin, @Aesthete and others, I had to go back and try Gjusta’s Turkey sandwich. I usually ignore Turkey since it’s generally always plain, boring, dry, but I’m always on the lookout for a great Turkey prep because I still appreciate a great version of Turkey.:smile:

Turkey Butcher (Baguette, Natural Jus):

Gjusta’s Turkey Butcher is served simply: On their own house-made baguette bread - which has the sexy outer crust and crunch, with a soft inside. The first bite is a beautiful, simple, direct Turkey shot of flavor! It tastes like… homemade Turkey (the best kind), pure and honest.

I take another bite after dipping the sandwich in the Turkey Jus dipping sauce. Wow! @Aesthete is right: The whole sandwich comes together and sings! It’s like the healthier, but just as tasty sister to the French Dip Sandwich: Here you have fresh (super fresh), pure roasted Turkey, carved into a sandwich for you. There’s a mix of dark and white meat Turkey, a bit of fat as well, and there’s a nice Rosemary note throughout. Then moistened by the fragrant Turkey Jus, I like it more than the typical French Dip. :smile:

The only quibble was a tiny bite at the end, which was saltier than the rest of the sandwich (probably a chunk of turkey that caught more salt / seasoning than the rest of the bird). Otherwise, one of the best Turkey sandwiches I’ve had.

Gjusta
320 Sunset Ave.
Venice, CA 90291
Tel: (310) 314-0320

http://www.gjusta.com/

Update 5:

Felt like grabbing a quick lunch and had a craving for Gjusta. :slightly_smiling:

It is always a struggle passing through their Pastry cases and Roast Meats and Smoked Fish sections; everything looks so good!

Roasted Cauliflower, Dandelion Greens, Capers & Anchovy Salad:

The Cauliflower (and Romanesco Broccoli) was cooked just right: Tender, but not overcooked, and the Dandelion Greens added just the right touch of bitterness, which was then balanced with a delicious umami burst of Anchovies in the dressing and the Capers. The whole salad was just interesting and so fresh! :smile: It’s something we might easily take for granted being in Southern California.

Smoked Fish Sampler Plate (Small):

I decided to choose the 3 selections today. Starting with their Octopus Escabeche:

Tender, slightly firm, but not chewy. It was actually the lightest of the 3 selections today. And it paired really nicely with the 2 types of fresh-baked Bread they made in-house: Seeded Rye and a Sprouted Rye.

Herbed Gravlax:

Their Herbed Gravlax is just SO good! :slight_smile: Not too salty, and when eaten with their Sprouted Rye Bread (the thicker, pillowy one pictured), it was magic.

Smoked Hiramasa Yellowtail:

But the absolute star today was their Smoked Hiramasa Yellowtail. WOW. Just this gorgeous, deep smokiness, tender, bright Yellowtail, and not overly salty. One of the best smoked fish I’ve had yet (although the Salmon Belly still reigns supreme, LOL). Just fantastic! :heart:

They also had a Chicken Pot Pie as a daily special today:

Buttery, flaky crust, really fresh, tender chunks of Chicken (no doubt direct from their fresh-roasted Chickens they serve daily). There was no aftertaste of “leftover” funk that some Pot Pies might have. The Chicken was fantastic, and the soft, tender chunks of Carrots, Celery were great. I wish there was a little more sauce, but otherwise, a very good Pot Pie.

At some point it’s just mind-boggling how Gjusta actually executes so many varied dishes so well. It shouldn’t be possible, but they do many things so right.

I need to go back and try their Roast Chicken soon. :slight_smile:

Gjusta
320 Sunset Ave.
Venice, CA 90291
Tel: (310) 314-0320

http://www.gjusta.com/

Update 6:

Had a craving for more amazing Smoked Fish so I stopped by Gjusta again. :slight_smile:

And I was hoping to find that delicious looking English Pea Salad mentioned yesterday.

Sadly they didn’t have that salad in their daily rotation when I went, but their fresh salads are usually interesting.

Organic Spinach, Goat Cheese, Pine Nuts Salad:

This might sound kind of plain, but… wow! The Organic Spinach they had was so fresh! Seriously nothing like the taste of packaged “Spinach” you get at the supermarket. There was a really pure, “fresh picked from the ground”-type of vibrancy. Really, really fresh Spinach. That really made the salad. :slight_smile:

And the Goat Cheese was fabulous, as were the fresh toasted Pine Nuts. :slight_smile:

Tuna Conserva Sandwich (Olive Bread, Caper Aioli, Roasted Peppers, Salted Cucumbers, Radish, Sprouts, Tapenade):

It was as sublime as the first time I ordered it! Toasted Olive Bread, really moist, succulent Tuna, the Roasted Peppers, Salted Cucumbers for the crunch, and Radish Sprouts for the added brightness. My favorite Tuna Sandwich in the city right now! :heart: It’s unlike any “tuna sandwich” I’ve had before.

Croque Madame (Sourdough, House-Cured Ham, Fried Egg & Mornay Sauce):

While it might not be a traditional Croque Madame, like most things at Gjusta they just deliver amazing goodness! :slight_smile: The Sourdough (made in-house) is delicious, and the House-Cured Ham isn’t overly salty, but it’s their Mornay Sauce - the delicious gravy-like melted concoction of Gruyere and other magic - that makes this such a joy to eat. :slight_smile: The Fried Egg on top, breaking it open and the Egg Yolk just adds more decadence.

Smoked Fish Plate (3 Selections):

Of course I had to revisit some Smoked Fish. We choose our favorite 3 this time:

Herb Gravlax:

Just as good as the last 5 times I’ve had it. Not too salty, delicate, so fresh!

Smoked Hiramasa Yellowtail:

Just SO GOOD! A deep, but delicate smokiness in every bite. The Hiramasa Yellowtail is moist and not overly salty either. And paired with their fresh Wheat Bread (which is just great crust and pillowy, slightly moist center). Yes! :slight_smile:

Smoked Salmon Belly:

Of course the most decadent, luscious Smoked Fish at Gjusta. So buttery (naturally), not salty, DELICIOUS! :heart:

Carrot Cake:

At some point, I should stop being surprised when Gjusta rocks at something. It defies normal expectations (how could they be so good at so many things?!).

Gjusta’s Housemade Carrot Cake (they just finished it according to the server) is moist, creamy, fragrant, not too sweet, and the nuts are really fresh. The Cream Cheese Frosting is balanced, adding just this perfect counter to the rest of the cake. Probably the tastiest Carrot Cake I’ve had in years! So worth it, LOL. :heart:

Gjusta
320 Sunset Ave.
Venice, CA 90291
Tel: (310) 314-0320

http://www.gjusta.com/

Update 7: Amazing Sandwiches (Falafel, Rotisserie Chicken, Smoked Oysters and much more)!

Update 8: New Sparkling Cucumber Lemonade, Country Wild Rice Pudding with Figs, and other dishes.

Update 9: New Italian Sandwich, Amazing Smoked Kanpachi and more!

Update 10: New Pumpkin Pie, Okinawan Sweet Potato Salad, Turkey Butcher revisited.

Update 11: Risky Biscuit! Baklava Croissant, Huevos Rancheros and their Chidori & Green Kale Salad.

Update 12: Cold-Smoked Kanpachi, Smoked Whitefish, French Onion Soup, the Italian Sandwich again!


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#2

Great post with lots of food porn! Their fish products started out good to great, but I think they’ve improved just about everything in this category that I’ve tried. Their baked goods - particularly their scones, biscuits and bread - are favorites of mine. I think their housemade condiments aren’t ever mentioned - these are worth trying as well. We usually offer a selection of food from Gjusta and/or GTA to family/friends visiting from out of town and they still talk about it.


#3

That anchovy toast looks so good!


#4

JAB,

Definitely worth trying if you go.


#5

Some more NSFW





#6

I think it may be the best smoked fish in the city (maybe the most expensive too) but I love it! Glad you tried it….


#7

that salmon collar looks amazing!


#8

So great to “see” you here bulavinaka!


#9

Is that 2nd pic shakshouka??? I love me a good shakshouka…


#10

Not quite, it didn’t have onions, peppers or cumin. They call it “baked eggs” on their menu.


#11

I was just going to ask the same question paranoid, LOL. :smile:

Thanks for the tip PorkBelly. Looks delish! :smile:

BTW, has anyone tried their Multi-Grain Porridge or their Multi-Grain Waffle?


#12

@wienermobile, thanks to you for the constant reminders to try it LOL. :smile:

What’s your favorite fish from their Smoked Fish case?


#13

I love the pastrami smoked salmon, the salmon belly and the smoked mackerel. But everything is great….those sardines too. And the bialy breakfast sandwich below is great.


#14

Haven’t tried pastrami smoked salmon yet; will do it the next time for sure. Thanks. :smile:

That bialy egg sandwich looks amazing. I was eyeing it today; darn it.


#15

Thank you CB. “Seeing” you and other familiar handles brings back that part of me that was missing for a while.


#16

Hi @bulavinaka,

How well does their bread hold up if you take a full loaf home? Do you get it pre-sliced and just leave it on the kitchen counter?

I’ve found some artisan breads over the years from different vendors dry out quickly.

Thanks.


#17

I don’t think they sell their bread sliced, or at least I’ve never seen it sold that way….


#18

Ah thanks wienermobile. Probably hold up fine then.


#19

I usually get a loaf on the weekend and use about half. I double bag the remainder with the cut end facing the bottom of the first bag and put the second bag in the opposite direction and place it in a cool isolated corner of the kitchen… It will reasonably hold up for a few days. Temp and humidity will obviously affect this.

Huckleberry’s loaves hold up well too. The moisture content seems a little higher than Gjusta’s so it won’t dry out as fast but mold becomes a concern.


#20

Gjusta does offer slicing. I always decline.