Out to Pasture

Venice's Barnyard puts a new spin on farm-to-table

No one might be more familiar with the concept of cognitive bias than Jesse Barber.

Barber, a Tasting Kitchen veteran, is the head chef at Barnyard, a cozy, farmhouse-esque restaurant located steps from the Venice boardwalk.

When Barnyard opened two weeks ago, it was better known for who was almost the chef (Jeremy Fox left the project in November) than for who was currently behind the stoves.

But Barber leaves his own impression with rustic, vegetable-centric small plates, the kind that are sure to keep the wooden tables packed with beachside locals.

You might start with a glass of dry Basque wine ($12), then graze on slices of house-made wild boar sausage ($6) or the daily vegetable terrine ($6)–roasted beets and whipped goat cheese on our visit, made from produce grown on the restaurant's five-acre Malibu farm.

Like many of the chefs in Venice, Barber prefers his proteins unadorned. The salt-roasted prawns ($12) arrive delicately tinged with green olives and fines herbes, and the pork chop with polenta, caramelized apples and charred onion ($15) is about as straightforward as food gets.

Barber's cooking might not exhibit the most buzz, but his dedication to healthful, simple food makes Barnyard a place any neighborhood should envy.

Barnyard, 1715 Pacific Ave., Venice; 310-581-1015 or barnyardvenice.com