The bad news is that, after nearly 15 years, Venice's Axe has closed, meaning diners can no longer enjoy the Basic Bowl, which was one of the best vegan items in the city and arguably the best vegan option on Abbot Kinney. The good news, however, is Axe's location is the new home to Plant Food and Wine, an eatery described as "a plant-based dining concept from Matthew Kenney."
Losing the Basic Bowl sucks, but as anyone who has eaten at Kenney's M.A.K.E. Santa Monica knows, this transformation has the potential for greatness as the restaurant churns out some of the best — and most innovative — vegan food on the planet. I mean, have you had the cheese plate?
Scheduled for an early 2015 opening, Plant Food and Wine will offer 70 seats (indoor and outdoor) and will serve lunch and dinner menus with dishes categorized as snacks, small plates, large plates, cheese (thank God), sides and desserts. Highlights include chilies prepared grilled, pickled, and cured, served with macadamia yogurt and spearmint; almond burrata with spicy winter fruit and biscotti; salt-baked baby roots finished with heirloom spelt berries, hazelnut, Meyer lemon and watercress; and "a selection of house-made tree-nut cheeses served with pickles, mustard seeds and fennel crackers."
For dessert, guests can expect things such as aerated chocolate with cloud ice and cacao-filbert brittle; a peach tart with miso mascarpone and lemon balm; and a carrot parfait with the flavors of lemongrass, kaffir and coconut. A tasting menu will be available for $65.
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A weekend brunch will also be served from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, featuring salads, sweets and savories, with a beverage menu including San Francisco–based Sightglass coffee roasters, teas from Red Blossom Tea and a selection of additional drinks including rhubarb lemonade, Valhrona hot chocolate, low-proof wine–based and craft non-alcoholic cocktails.
Booze enthusiasts will be happy to know the restaurant will be focused on organic and biodynamic vineyards and global varietals and will feature white, orange and red wines. This is good news because vegan vino can be hard to find and because herbivores deserve a place where they can act posh while enjoying cheese and wine.