The first time I came here was in Summer in 2014, at that time New Executive Chef Liberato rolled out a fabulous list of “upscale bar food” that’s served both upstairs and downstairs. It is always a lovely trip to walk along Venice beach and then pop in for your favorite cocktail and menu item at Venice Whaler.
The crowd is always boisterous and in party mode, so don’t come here if you want to have nice quiet evening, or a date with conversation, you will not find that here. What you will find is a lively beach café that has some great food with even better seasonal cocktails.
Here’s what I tried:
Cocktails – Crab Shell Creations:
The “Go To” Svedka Vodka, strawberry, cucumber. Yes I agree this would be my “Go To” cocktail as well.
Chamomile Mai Tai Chamomile infused Rum, orgeat, curacao, wray & nephews. This is a very tropical cocktail, but the chamomile makes it more user friendly.
Here’s the Food I tried:
Asian Chicken Skewers Sriracha glaze, dill aioli, cilantro. The chicken is very tender and the aioli sauce just adds that extra little zest that you really don’t expect.
Sweet Potato Fries, cooked to perfection, nice sweet outer crisp and great moist inside texture.
Classic Caesar Salad with bay romaine, croutons, Caesar salad, and grilled shrimp. The shrimp is butterflied and then left to curl on the grill, and they give you lots of them, so for me that is the best part of this salad.
Turkey Burger with caramelized onions, jack cheese, purple slaw. This is a fresh meaty burger and the slaw adds just the right amount and sweet crisp texture to this great menu item.
Beach Mussels with fennel pollen, kaffir lime cream, grilled sour dough. There is something about the preparation of this dish that just sends me into another dimension, it is just that terrific.
Char-Grilled Oysters, ½ dozen Parmesan, garlic parsley, and butter. I really did not know to make head or tails of this dish because having cheese with a grilled oyster is not something I would normally eat together, but some how it worked, well kind of.
Maine Lobster Roll, with poached Maine lobster with lemon aioli on a brioche roll with homemade coleslaw. They chop up the lobster and mix it with some other ingredients. Instead, they should just serve it in big pieces and show its beautiful self to the person eating. So this dish was not one of my favorites.
Crab Cake with lump crabmeat, lemon cream, and arugula salad. This is a good crab cake, for this dish they should do the crab in large pieces so it is not minced and you can get the lump crab texture.
Shrimp Ceviche shrimp, pico de gallo, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, tostada, now with this dish you can see the large shrimp pieces which makes it all more pleasing to the eye which translates to your stomach, I enjoyed this one.
New England Clam Chowder with slab bacon, potato, cream, corn, with grilled sourdough. This is a very hearty clam chowder and extremely filing, but I really loved the large pieces of vegetables, bacon and clams.
Key Lime Pie with fresh whipped cream, lime zest. This is the dessert that you must try; its packed with great key Lime flavors, so it’s sweet and tangy at the same time.
Baked in Venice raspberry coulis, vanilla ice cream, sponge cake, burnt meringue. This dessert is way too sweet, but some one who likes this sort of ice cream cake type dessert then go ahead and try it.
Beresford Sauvignon Blanc, try this with the Beach Mussels, it will really blow your hair back.
Milestone Chardonnay, rich fruity aromas with a nice peach finish add to this nice Chardonnay. I like this wine with the oysters; it gives a nice balance to the oysters and the cheese.
Stone Cellars Chardonnay, nice buttery flavors do this one with the Maine Lobster Roll, it will make you very happy.
Unbridled Pinot Noir, there are some strawberry notes coming through with this wine, I would say drink this wine with the chicken skewers, it gives an nice balance on your palate.
Stone Cellars Cabernet, with this very lovely wine go for the Turkey Burger, and make sure you pair this wine with the caramelized onions.
Mc Laren Vale Cabernet, I liked this wine with the mussels, it is bold and big and worked great with the kaffir lime cream.
About Chef Nick Liberato, he has been cooking professionally for 16 years. Besides his famed TV appearances on “Bar Rescue” on Spike TV, he has also been a private chef to some pretty famous people: Barbra Streisand, Pink, Anthony Kiedus, Ray Ramano, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Maria Shriver. He has opened and worked at quite a few top restaurants: Luigi’s Italian Restaurant in Philadelphia, Chef Joachim Splichal’s Patina, David Myers Sona and Comme CA, Pizzeria Ortica in Costa Mesa. Nick is currently running his own catering business (Calidelpia) in Los Angeles and when he is not working he’s traveling the world cooking, surfing and snowboarding.
The Crab Shell Bar originated in 1944, later named the Venice Whaler. It was a favorite watering hole for locals, tourists, celebs, who wanted good straightforward cocktails with an ocean front view. In 2014 The Crab Shell bar got revamped, with a new owner, new mixologist, and new Executive chef. To bring it full circle the downstairs bar has taken its original namesake, and just like the Crab Shell Bar is back in all its glory.
The menu is seasonal and changes often, so it’s good to stop in and see what is new, I did and was nicely surprised!
The Venice Whaler
10 W. Washington
Venice, CA. 90292