Brilliantly timed with the end of summer comes The Anchor, a petite small-plates-and-wine bar on Main Street with the majority of its seating on a lengthy front patio under the soft glow of string globes. So as autumn rolls in, you can arrogantly slurp oysters and sip craft beer seaside in 70 degree-plus temps as Mother Nature turns a cold shoulder everywhere else.
The Anchor joins fellow Main Street newcomers including a high-energy tea house, the gorgeous, Ana Henton-designed Komodo, and one of the best coffee spots in town. (Speaking of coffee spots, more change is coming soon to the Venice-meets-Santa Monica corner of Rose and Main. The Starbucks on Navy just shut its doors. And, according to Eater gossip, Superba Snack Bar's former chef Jason Neroni is planning to take over Rose Cafe.)
The menu at The Anchor leans toward seafood, and it certainly gets it right with a rotating variety of fresh oysters and blood-orange mignonette, mussels in a tomato-based white wine and chorizo broth, charred octopus, hamachi crudo, and a must-try lobster roll. But this catchy menu also keeps you guessing with surprises like the waffle-crusted jidori chicken wings with maple syrup reduction, pork tenderloin over kimchi, and the s'mores panna cotta (more on these in a second).
It's no surprise that owners Kristin Ciccolella and wife Sandy Ames like to keep things interesting at their NYC-meets-Venice neighborhood hangout, and they insist on getting the details just right. They brought in artist Gregory Siff for some interior style and upbeat jams come courtesy of NYC DJ Sarah Lewitinn. There's also been a bit of chef shuffling going on right up until opening week. After taking over the former Vardo space in the Venice Renaissance Building last spring, they hired chef Sean Conway from Casa Del Mar to lead the kitchen. Then a week before opening, they announced it would be chef Walter el Nagar. And on opening night, it turned out to be chef Dustin Taylor, from Michael's, Comme Ca, and AK Supper Club, running the show. As el Nagar pursued another opportunity to take his Barbershop pop-up concept into a permanent space, it was perfect timing for Taylor to settle into a more relaxed atmosphere where he could do his own thing and let his creativity shine.
However you mix things up, plan on dessert. Specifically, the s'mores panna cotta. With pastry chef Sarah Green coming from Superba Snack Bar (where they serve those delicious smoky s'mores in a jar) you know she knows this summer classic, and she's going to do something really amazing with it. And she does. Think graham cracker meets rice crispy treat crust, topped with silky chocolate panna cotta, topped with roasted marshmallow fluff. You could also opt for the peanut butter cookies with chocolate centers and mini milk mugs. We recommend ordering another glass of wine and settling in for both. You might as well enjoy this sweet September weather.
The Anchor Venice is currently open for dinner starting at 5:30 p.m., but plans to serve lunch and brunch in the coming months.
Tip: Get one hour free in the parking garage on Navy.
The Anchor Venice // 235 Main Street Venice CA 90291