“Won’t you be my Neighbor?”
While you may still see hipsters sporting cardigans, Mister Rogers’ old Neighborhood is not a far from how you might feel at this neighborly Venice garden bistro and cocktail bar. Since weekend brunches are meant to linger, this charming old house on Abbot Kinney – known as Neighbor – is the best way to waste away a Sunday. Outside by the garden, a seat for two awaited as we were surrounded by couples with dogs, a large group of 30-something year old women, a chick in roller skates, and groups of friends happily dining outside in this eclectic multi tiered backyard with broad striped umbrellas and colorful wall murals.
There are many spaces to choose from, so you may want to start with a coffee and cake monkey pastry in the front open air lounge or the 20 seat marble cocktail bar OR continue your California dreaming fantasies out back in the garden patio or open-air backyard bistro.
Our aggressive brunch eating in this friendly atmosphere started with cocktails (Summer Peach Sangria and the Oaxacan Spritz with Mezcal and grapefruit) and sharing one of the most unusual items to veer off the California farmer’s market menu- spicy slippery soft Udon noodles with kimchi, tofu, scallion, gochuang, and soft egg. It was delicious! Udon noodles with a Korean kick.
The server fully convinced us to order the burger, even though I wasn’t feeling something so heavy, but soon after we figured out why. Considered the best burger on the west side, this hefty Dry Aged Burger on a brioche bun was doused with foam cheddar cheese, special sauce, and loaded with caramelized onions, AND definitely lived up to its star status.
Fried Chicken with a cornbread biscuit, jalapeño and honeycomb was our next shareable dish while a couple of tequila cocktails seemed only appropriate to wash the heaviness down in the sunshine. The Baja is concocted with stone fruit, basil, lime, and chile while Berries and Herb adds rosemary, lime, agave, and housemate strawberry puree to the tequila. For $45 you can order mimosas for the table with a carafe of OJ or grapefruit or sip other fine summer cocktails like the Watermelon Spritz, Strawberry Rosemary Margarita, and Mezcal Bloody Mary.
To top off our leisurely brunch, we ordered Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes with coffee butter for dessert (and even took part of it home, not to be wasted since they were so moist).
Thanks to the market fresh menu by Chef Joshua Luce, all your typical favorite brunch items (but done better that one can imagine) are on the menu. We gawked as the Avocado Seeded Toast came out with pistachio, radish, and chive blossom and the Croque Monsieur flew by in its tall rectangular ham and gruyere tower presentation.
Brunch, lunch, dinner and Happy Hour are available. Choose your own neighborly adventure; you’ll be sure to enjoy good company with imaginative seasonal food in a cozy and cheerful atmosphere.