Founders Jake Godby and Sean Vahey put it best by describing Humphry Slocombe as a “bizarre, delicious frozen universe.” Since 2008, Humphry Slocombe [the name comes from the 1970’s sitcom ‘Are You Being Served’] has turned heads with flavors that taste as exotic as they’re named. And where would a place that defines itself by going against the grain be better suited in LA than the heart of Venice?
This humble standing-room only parlor boasts rows and rows of seasonal and evergreen flavors. Strawberry Captain Crunch, Blue Bottle Vietnamese coffee and McEvoy Olive Oil are just the beginning. A lineup of ‘boozy’ creations includes secret breakfast [made with bourbon], black forest white Russian [made with Kahlua] and Jesus Juice [wine and cola sorbet] among others. And then the granddaddy of them all: Harvey milk and honey graham [see what they did there? And yes, that’s a direct quote from the display].
Humphry Slocombe offers unlimited samples for visitors, allowing patrons to indulge their curiosity while at the same time making it even harder to decide on just a few flavors, let alone one.
Fresh-made waffle cones and gourmet toppings such as frosted peanuts and custom cornflakes maintain a quality experience. The only area where Humphry Slocombe falls short is their root beer floats, where something more artisan should take the place of the canned A&W currently being used. Milkshakes would be highly desired as well, though patrons can treat themselves to a coffee float or a custom sundae.
Humphry Slocombe has locations across California, Texas, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii. Venice location is 1653B Abbot Kinney Blvd. Venice Beach, CA 90291. Open 1 – 11p Mon – Thu, non – midnight Fri/Sat, noon – 11p Sunday. Avg. Out-the-door price is ~$8/order. For more information, visit HumphrySlocombe.com
Chaya Venice has proudly become CHAYA Modern Izakaya. What began as a humble teahouse in the 17th century has grown into a dining empire, expanding into the US nearly 40 years ago, and is continuing to evolve with its new identity, complete with a fresh look and reinvigorated menu.
Similar to a Western gastropub, a Japanese izakaya is traditionally a drinking establishment which serves small tapas-style plates for sharing. CHAYA Modern Izakaya further bridges the gap between Japanese and American dining with Japanese-Californian cuisine, handcrafted cocktails, premium spirits, Japanese Whisky, eclectic sake and wine, and Japanese and local craft beers.
The chef team—Corporate Executive Chef Yukou Kajino, Executive Chef Joji Inoue and Kaiseki Chef Katsuyuki Wako—have a deep background with CHAYA, Japanese flavor and innovative culinary prowess. The trifecta properly bridges Eastern philosophy with Western techniques, utilizing local seasonal ingredients, with sky-high quality standards for seafood, poultry and meats.
CHAYA’s menu features exotic delights across a broad range of categories, from the chrysanthemum salad to grilled octopus and wagyu chazuke. Sushi is unquestionably essential at CHAYA, with rolls and hand rolls that take you across the Pacific. Guests can also experience daily omakase menus at the Kaiseki chef counter, which replaces the old Chaya’s raw bar as a focal point for chefs to showcase their talent.
An eclectic bar adds to CHAYA’s modern appeal, enhancing the restaurant’s social element by allowing guests to congregate over an extensive sake collection, as well as a strong lineup of Japanese whiskies and Western favorites that make for excellent hand-made cocktails.
CHAYA Modern Izakaya is located at 110 Navy Street, Venice, CA 90291. Open for Dinner 5:30 - 10 p.m. Sun – Thu, 5:30 - 11:30 p.m. Fri – Sat. Happy Hour from 5 p.m. to close. For more information, call call (310) 396-1179 or visit TheCHAYA.com.
Benjamin Brown is a seasoned restaurant writer and hospitality consultant, serving up SoCal's hottest food news and reviews.