Gjelina is where I take visitors the most often. I think the food and back patio provide a great example of westside dining. The lamb sausage may be my favorite pizza in town, thin and very charred, which I like and does not fill me up when shared. I always order the butterscotch pot de creme for dessert. While the servers aren’t warm, fuzzy or always watching, I’ve never found them to be rude and the bussers are very attentive and busy. Our party of two was not automatically assessed a 20% gratuity last month, unless I missed it on the bill in which case I’m surprised and pissed I tipped about that on my own and it wasn’t mentioned.
20% service charge started as of June 1. I’m still deciding how I feel about it.
Stopped back at Gjelina for a quick lunch last week.
Charred Okra, Cherry Tomato, Garlic, Pine Nut, Olive & Mint:
They just added this (and 3 other new seasonal vegetables to the menu). Okra can sometimes be a little tricky, sometimes turning a bit gummy or bitter. Chef Lett continues to show a deftness in execution: It is downright uncanny how great Gjelina turns out cooked Vegetables. The Okra is just cooked through, tender, yet still retaining enough body. The balance of fresh, sweet, lightly acidic farmers market Cherry Tomatoes, the unmistakable scent and lightly delicate nuttiness of the Pine Nuts, the briny salt of the dark Olives, and then an uplifting component with the Mint.
It’s brilliant, and yet another fantastic Vegetable dish worth ordering.
Hand Cut Frites, Harissa Ketchup, Dijon Aioli:
I’ve been ignoring their Fries for a long time, mainly thinking about how many other dishes I’d rather get than French Fries. But hearing some great recommendations for this, I decided to finally order it.
They were sadly mediocre: About 60% of the Fries were not very crisp (soggy), with the remaining Fries having some crispness (which was nice). However, all of the Fries were too starchy in the inside. Slightly chalky, almost dried out, and just not very appealing.
The dipping sauces were great: Loved the Harissa Ketchup and the Dijon Aioli was very distinct.
Considering this small plate of Fries are a ridiculous $13(!), this feels like the French Fry version of Scarpetta’s ~$30 plate of Spaghetti, except Scarpetta’s Spaghetti was consistently delicious for us. Not so with these Fries.
Grilled Baja Yellowtail, Romesco & Cucumber-Shiso Salad:
Initially when this plate arrived, it looked rather unimpressive and possibly overcooked. Thankfully the taste and inside was the complete opposite:
A slight crunch from the crispy Baja Yellowtail Skin gives way to flawless medium-rare, super tender Yellowtail! Wow. I can’t remember the last time I had Yellowtail this perfectly cooked that celebrated its delicate inherent qualities, instead of being overcooked, or covered in a bunch of overpowering sauces.
Thinking on the fantastic Black Cod and now this Yellowtail, I’m beginning to think Gjelina is both a Cooked Vegetable Whisperer and a Fish Whisperer. Both of these fish dishes have been flawless.
There are some flaws here, and the prices are high, reflecting Abbot Kinney and the new Venice, but those cooked veggies and fish plates are worth a try.
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
Tel: (310) 450-1429
Thank you for allowing me to live vicariously through your meals, @Chowseeker1999!
If Venice isn’t too far, considering how much you enjoy veggies, Gjelina is definitely worth a try at least once.
Anyone who can make okra un-slimey is indeed a vegetable magician. Sorry you got a bad batch of fries. I’ll never claim that Gjelina is cheap, but are you sure they were $13? I thought all the vegetable sides were $10 these days (up from $8 when they first opened which was truly a bargain for many of those dishes).
No worries, I might try them again, maybe those fries were a bad batch.
Well it’s $10 + tax + automatic 20% service charge, so yah it’s $13.
Sheer speculation, but I’ll bet they’re cut fresh and fried only once. This is the same mistake In 'N Out makes. IMO, fresh-cut fries need to be double fried.
The fries I had at dinner the other night were excellent. They were crispy and creamy in the middle. But I thought they were $10? And even at $10 they were the most expensive side order of fries I’ve ever seen.
Went back to dinner on Saturday night for an 8pm reservation and they were already sold out. My friend who were looking forward to the fries were sorely disappointed.
I posted an answer to a similar question 2 posts above. I might’ve gone on an off day, but I’m willing to give the fries another try later. Thanks.
I think you can request precisely this option when ordering at In-N-Out, no?
i know you can order fries “well done” which are just cooked longer, do they do double fried?
Don’t believe so, but I could be wrong. To clarify, “double fried” means the potatoes are literally fried twice, once at a lower temperature, then again at a higher temperature to crisp them up before serving.
My thought is this is why the frozen fries at McDonald’s taste better to me than the fresh-cut fries at In-N-Out. They par cook the fries before freezing them, so it’s effectively a second fry in the restaurant.
If In-N-Out is double frying their fries, however, that would undercut my thinking
I can’t tell you for sure but the times I’ve ordered fries well done at In n Out well done just meant a longer fry time not double fried. It seems like once the fries at In n Out are done they go straight into the metal basket.
You need to go check out Hatchet Hall’s version
I haven’t tried the Gjelina version, but if it’s anything like Gjusta’s, it is indeed magical and un-slimey!
Tried the Squash Blossom Pizza today. Really enjoyed it. From the oil-garlic base, the cheese, and all the bright and tasty vegetables. Beautiful to look at, like half the girls on the block.
Also saw Ari Gold/Jeremy Piven in the restroom…LOLLERS. I like Entourage, but I get a feeling he is a dick in real life. I would have shared a slice with Ari
That looks so beautiful! I’ll have to try it on our next visit. Thanks!
(Excerpt of our Pasta Journey featuring Gjelina’s Pastas)
I had completely spaced out that Gjelina offers up a variety of Handmade Pastas for Lunch! So off we went to relax along Abbot Kinney and try some Pastas.
Roasted Romanesco (Anchovy, Caper, Mint):
There’s something special, truly magic with the way Chef-Owner Travis Lett and his staff at Gjelina can transform Vegetables into something stunning. Their Roasted Romanesco is tender, bursting with flavors from their Caper, Mint and perfect roasting. The Anchovy adds that wonderful nudge of umami and brininess. So good!
Semolina Fusilli (Hokkaido Uni, Little Neck Clams, Garlic, Chili):
There’s something really neat about Gjelina incorporating seasonal ingredients, and exotic ingredients, and in this case, the Hokkaido Uni is creamy, gorgeous and a complete 180 from the near-rotting Uni at Pasta e Pasta Allegro. It’s bright and tastes fresh, and the Little Neck Clams add nice brininess that accents the Uni.
But their Handmade Fusilli is just a bit too rustic and thick. It’s perfectly cooked through and al dente, but fundamentally it’s just very rustic (very handmade), and rough-hewn. It feels like the ingredients would’ve shined better with a more delicate Pasta. Otherwise, quite delicious.
Einkorn Bucatini (Nettle, Chili, Garlic, Parmesan):
Wow! Also made in-house, the Einkorn Bucatini is using an ancient grain (Einkorn Wheat), and there’s a subtle grain / almost nutty quality. It’s perfectly cooked al dente, with a nice bite, but beyond that, the flavors are just wonderfully balanced.
Stinging Nettle, really fragrant Garlic, a little bit of heat from the Chilies, and judicious use of Parmesan. When mixed together, it’s just balanced and so delicious!
Gjelina’s Pastas usually run about $20 - $22 (+ tax & tip) during Lunch, and along with their amazing Cooked Vegetable dishes, it makes it one of our favorite places for lunch.
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
Tel: (310) 450-1429