Chez Tex - All Cattle, No Hat(s required)

Main Street in Venice has a cluster of eateries between Rose and Navy. Chaya Venice has the most presence. Look across Main Street from Chaya and you might notice a newcomer - Chez Tex.

Chez Tex 's concept, like its name, is an oxymoron, a juxtaposition of sorts. The “Tex” is from the founder’s name, who was named after his uncle Tex - a no-nonsense Texas oil man who probably chided formality. Tex’s home might have been basic and homey, but I’m sure he could live large and eat well. And Chez Tex wants you to feel the same. Live large, eat well in a humble, cozy atmosphere. Make yourself at home, at The Home of Tex.

I noticed this space being built out for a little while - a fair amount of time and effort going into the front. Large format folding doors greet eaters. This is a great way to invite in guests as well as pull in the light and air rolling in from the ocean.

Tex opened for dinner service over a month ago. They recently opened for lunch. It just so happened that I was off today and decided to go. The lunch menu is simple. Three salads, three sandwiches, some non-alcohol drinks, and a nice beer and wine list. You can also opt for a half-salad/half sandwich lunch. This was a great way for three of us to cover the six menu items.

Russian red kale salad with pomegranate seeds pepitas and pumpkin;
Caesar salad with gulf shrimp;
Cobb salad.

Caprese sandwich with heirloom tomatoes, grilled squash, fresh mozzarella and pesto,

Prosciutto with cornichons and butter,

Smoked salmon with heirloom tomato.

The smoked salmon sandwich was excluded from this lunch combination - I offered to pay extra for it - they obliged. I didn’t bother to see what and if the charged.

I was impressed with the freshness and integrity of the ingredients, it’s prep, and presentation.

The kale salad was refreshing and bright.

The gulf shrimp (actually from Argentina) were so succulent and sweet.

The Cobb was chock full of bacon, blue cheese, chicken and tomatoes.

The bread: crusty baguettes and big firm egg buns.

While the portion of prosciutto was generous, this made the sandwich salty to the eater. I thought it was fine, tempered by the butter and cornichons.

The caprese sandwich was a lesson in how freshness, great ingredients, focused preparation and balance play out into a wonderful vegetarian experience. The grilled squash gives a nice meatiness to an already superb sandwich.

The star for me was the smoked salmon sandwich. Served on that wonderful egg bun, the smoked salmon was amazing. The chef is an alumnus of Republique - smoking fish and making charcuterie among other things.

All things considered, this bodes well for a dinner visit.