After having experienced Matthew Kenney's fantastic raw cuisine at the recently defunct M.A.K.E., I was so excited to try out his new restaurant -- Plant. Unlike M.A.K.E., Plant is not exclusively raw vegan, but instead features both raw and cooked cuisine. Matthew Kenney is one of the top raw vegan chefs in the world, so I was quite surprised to see that the restaurant featured mostly cooked food.
The restaurant itself is absolutely beautiful. Located on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, it surrounded by funky little shops and cafes. Inside, it is all black and white with splashes of color. From the marble-like tables to contemporary vases, this restaurant screams elegance. Outside, the courtyard is absolutely stunning with its large wooden tables and beautiful flowers and greenery.
My first visit was on a Sunday during brunch. I started with the Chili Beach drink made with chili infused sake, pineapple, cilantro, and Meyer lemon salt. I found it to be tasty, but not well balanced. I'd try something different next time.
For my meal, I ordered the Polenta Scramble. It featured seared polenta topped with broccolini, king oyster mushrooms, almond gremolata, and green harissa along with sweet potato hash. It was incredibly good -- all the flavors meshed together so well. I was really impressed. They also brought out a trio of sauces including an aioli, and two hot sauces. The habanero hot sauce was delicious, but I think I ate way too much of it as I had a stomachache later. :-(
I had such a good experience that I returned with a friend the next day for lunch. After some mineral water and mimosa, we were ready to place our orders.
We started with a two-cheese plate featuring nut cheeses. The white truffle cheese made with cashews and macadamia nuts was definitely our favorite, but the peppercorn, also made with cashews and macadamia nuts, came in a tight second. Both were incredibly flavorful and had my non-vegan friend raving about vegan nut cheeses. They were served with pickled apples, mustard seeds, and some of the best raw crackers ever made with fennel and flax.
For my entree, I ordered the Roasted Tomato Sandwich. This thick artisan grilled bread had a luscious smoked cheddar nut cheese on it with roasted tomatoes and avocado. Although it was a bit too much bread, the flavors were incredible.
My friend ordered the Mushroom and Vegetable Burger, which was a rich, thick burger on thin spelt flatbread with pickles, lettuce, and carrot ketchup. We liked everything but the flatbread and both preferred the tomato sandwich to the burger.
The service at Plant was pretty good both times I went. There also weren't many people dining either time I went. As it is still new, perhaps they haven't yet built up a customer base. No matter because the fact is that the food is exquisite. The brunch item was $14 and the lunch items were $13-$14 each -- well worth it in my opinion. And the atmosphere is great. This is one of the best vegan restaurants I've been to in LA and I highly recommend you visit it as soon as you can.
1009 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Venice, CA 90291