Chef Ryan Fowler, who tells Grub Street his working experience includes stints with Thomas Keller and Wolfgang Puck's companies among others, recently launched Pichet, a Provencal pop-up with a California state of mind. Every Friday and Saturday nights, Fowler can be found at new B1 Breadshop on Abbot Kinney in Venice, serving up a different menu each week featuring thoughtful dishes like organic coq au vin, short rib poutine with local Yukon Gold potatoes and ratatouille, and roasted duck leg, all priced at $12 each (now that's bistronomics we can believe in).
Starting with charcuterie and fromage courses, his menu embraces West Coast style through servings of Tuscan melon with seared, organic Bosc pears treated with India-imported jaggery (rock sugar), "gently wilted" dandelion greens with wild framboise in a Meyer lemon vinaigrette, and the more unexpected empanadas de Marseille, filled with whole aubergine, olive tapenade, locally cured prosciutto, and cotija cheese, offered with suggested wine pairings and this past weekend, a tarte maison frangipane with blue berries for dessert.
Eating out in Venice on weekends has become next-to-impossible in the evening unless you enjoy competing with the shouts, grunts, and screams of your fellow diners just to hear what your table-mates have to say.
Pichet, with romantic low, lighting and unfussy bistro inspiration in a sparse bakeshop setting of just a few tables, could provide a remedy for the fury found across the street at choked-to-the-gills Sunny Spot, where insult to your inner eardrum injuries can be found in a plate of five prawns plopped in a thick sauce of pure fire for $14. That is, at least until the neighborhood, ever hungry these days for the next thing on Abbot-Kinney, catches on to what Fowler is cooking. Still, a wait for affordable French-Cali cuisine still beats an easy pass through Wacky Wok.
The restaurant is currently accepting walk-ins on Friday and Saturday nights from 7:00 to 1100: P.M., with plans to become a full-service restaurant in fall. The menus, which change each week, will be previewed on Pichet's Facebook page.
Pichet, 2805 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Venice.