Chaya Venice Sushi/Restaurant/Lounge has it all plus high quality food (5/07)

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If you’re looking for a restaurant to go for food, drinks, and atmosphere then Chaya Venice is the place. Located in the heart of Venice, California this lively restaurant and sushi bar delivers on all fronts.

Chaya Venice is a casual, yet gourmet restaurant. They specialize in sushi and seafood and have an extensive wine list. The eclectic atmosphere features hanging fixtures, artwork, a huge flower centerpiece and a unique painted ceiling. Offering lunch specials, happy hour, price fixed dinners and late night suppers this trendy place has something for everyone. Conveniently located on Main Street in the heart of Venice, this is an ideal place to meet for drinks and sushi in the bar or for a delicious meal in the main dinning area.

The menu has a wide variety of creative and Innovative Asian inspired dishes that are certain to please anyone’s palate. Chef Yuichi Natori is a master in the kitchen using many of his own recipes which include tantalizing sauces, dips and side dishes. He has been working with Chaya Executive Chef Shigefumi Tachibe for more than 12 years. There are pastas, paella, seafood, sushi, steaks and vegetarian plates. You can even get a cheeseburger if your heart desires.

We asked our server for an assortment of appetizers to start. The Cajun fried calamari with curry mayonnaise was delectable. We also recommend the seared scallops over Thai green papaya salad with ginger garlic vinaigrette. And we had the tuna tartar on crispy won ton chips with avocado wasabi mayo and the seared yellow fin tuna with mixed greens. You can also get something very unique like a lobster enchilada with cilantro cream sauce or shrimp and blue crab jalapeño fritters served with homemade guacamole.

Some of the specialty entrees include the grilled Ahi Tuna with a ginger soy sauce stir-fried vegetables and wasabi potato puree; The Miso-Marinated White Sea Bass that melts in your mouth on a tower of Steamed Rice with Baby Bok Choy; The Fish of the Day when we visited was the spicy, delicious white fish "Escolar" with grilled veggies & rice cake and a rich, tasty sauce.  If  you are in a meat kind of mood, the Kobe Beef is one of a kind. You can cut it with a fork as it is lightly marbled throughout so the big time flavor stands out and the port wine sauce is amazing.

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The daily Bento Box which is always available and includes fresh daily selections, sushi and your choice of soup of the day. A couple other entrees suggested include the delicious paella with mixed seafood and a half Maine lobster and the sautéed sea scallops wrapped in sliced New York steak. There are a wide variety of wines to perfectly accompany your meal. Ask the knowledgeable servers for suggestions.

A must when coming to Chaya is to have the sushi. Do not leave this restaurant without ordering some. The yellowtail dissolved in our mouths as we savored every ounce of it. The seafood roll has yellowtail, tuna, spicy mayonnaise, arare (which gives the roll a unique crunchy texture), avocado, cucumber and onion. We had to choose from the menu to find other delectable sushi rolls or specials. Some of their lunch specials are Tuna, Tuna, Tuna, Dragon Rolls, Chirashi Sushi and Sushi “Omakase”.

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Is there any room left for dessert? Try the Banana, Banana, Banana Tart, which has banana ice cream, berries and a frozen chocolate banana or the warm Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding (not to miss).

Chaya has a very lively atmosphere. It is a great place to come to have a drink, sit at the sushi bar, or enjoy a long dinner talking with friends and meeting people. People are friendly here and outgoing. It’s not a place for a quiet romantic dinner; it’s loud, it has a heartbeat, and more than anything it has great food which tops it all off for a very memorable evening.

Chaya is located at 110 Navy St. in Venice, California. (310) 396-1179. Lunch is served Mon.- Fri. from 11:30-2:30. Dinner starts at 6 pm. and sushi happy hour is from 5 pm – 7 pm

More information about Chaya Venice and the other restaurants is at www.thechaya.com  

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