Chaya Venice

The whole reason I was in LA was for work, so on Tuesday night, we had a work outing for some good ol fashioned team bonding, over food and drinks. Really, that’s the best kind. We headed out to the Chaya in Venice. It’s on Main Street, which is an adorable strip of cute shops and restaurants, all incredibly walking friendly. I wish I’d had some time to walk around a bit.
The place itself is pretty big, decorated kind of crazy with crazy pictures, crazy flowers, and weirdly-shaped paper lanterns. But it’s all kind of cool. You don’t have to dress up, but there were lots of fancy people there. The food is rather varied… there’s sushi and seafood, but also regular food that does not necessarily have an asian bent. There was a big group of us, and hilariously enough, it ended up being a girls table and a boys table. Like the middle school dance! Ha! There are tons of pictures from this Chaya visit, so hold on to your food porn horses…
Cheese plate. You get a bunch of complimentary bread here, which is a nice touch.

Shrimp and alaskan snow crab vietnamese spring rolls with spicy peanut sauce, a nice twist on a vietnamese classic. Freakin beautifully prepared, and good too. Wished there were 20 more of these!

Deli at the boys table got some kind of sushi. Looks good, but I heard he got sick that night… so this may have been the culprit!

K and I were eying up the shrimp and blue crab jalapeno fritters with homemade guac on the menu, and decided we had to go for it. Well, it turned out to be a jalapeno popper with some shrimp and blue crab stuff inside. It wasn’t exactly what we expected… we expected a fritter in the more traditional sense. We weren’t too impressed.

On to the entrees! Grilled tilapia. I got a little taste of this, and it had a wonderfully smoky and grilled flavor.

A giant ass pork chop with port wine sauce, served with a side of mac and cheese. Poor C, this chop ended up being extremely fatty, like seriously, I saw all the fat she had cut off, and there was a honkin 1/2 inches of fat all around this thing. Ugh. The mac and cheese wasn’t that great either, and I love mac and cheese.

Sea scallops wrapped in new york steak and sauteed in dijon pommerey mustard sauce. They really like to throw the green beans all over their plates. K got this, but she also ended up not feeling good later in the night, so again, possibly shady scallops?

Miso-marinated white sea bass… I was eyeing this up, but passed on it. And you know I love me some miso marinated fish!

N went with the filet with black truffle sauce. Apparently, she always orders filet. She cleaned up her plate! It really did look pretty damn good, and I’m not really a steak eater.

As for me, I went crazy and got the paella with mixed seafood and half grilled maine lobster. It was pretty good, and pretty hot. Not spicy, but temperature hot… burned half my mouth off. There was tons of seafood in my paella, but I didn’t get sick that night… lucky for me! But I rarely get sick from food. It pays to have a cast iron stomach!

Onto the desserts! I think this was butterscotch flan? It was pretty good.

K was raving about the bananas bananas bananas (her sister is a food blogger by the way!!!), a warm banana tart with banana ice cream topped with a chocolate covered banana. If you like bananas, then this is the dessert for you!
Chocolate croissant bread pudding with caramel ice cream… really tasty.

Flourless rich brownie with vanilla ice cream. I’m not all that into choocolate, but this was good.

Me? I went with my usual dessert suspect – creme brulee. Pretty good here. The service was pretty good that night, especially considering one dude was waiting on 14 of us. Overall, the food was good, most everyone liked what they got. Aside from a few people getting sick, it was still a good time. Hey man, I didn’t get sick, so no complaints from me! This definitely is not a cheap place though, so it’s especially nice if work foots the bil!
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