• j’s kitchen. blech.

    March 2nd, 2009quarrygirlj's kitchen (closed), LA restaurants

    as more and more vegan restaurants close these days (R.I.P. vegan spot and doomie’s), plenty seem to be opening…especially on the west side. we’ve been lucky enough to gain seed, casa de tree, and yet another m cafe in beverly hills. i guess with all this awesomeness happening, there was bound to be a fluke. enter j’s kitchen on abbot kinney in venice. the new vegan macrobiotic restaurant sitting on a prime piece of real estate should be something to get really excited about…instead, it wound up being a total letdown.

    i was really excited for j’s kitchen to open, don’t get me wrong. supposedly this place has a wicked storefront in japan, serving up high-quality vegan food that is known all around the world for being delicious. they were supposed to open in like september, but that got pushed out months, and finally they did a soft-opening in december. what looked like it would be an awesome duplicate of the famous tokyo location turned out to be just a salad bar with no seating and very limited hours.

    now over 2 months later, j’s kitchen still has no indoor seating, the menu is small and limited, and while they do have some food other than a salad bar…in my experience, it was really disappointing.

    veggie tofu scramble. $4.50 plus tempeh bacon. $2.95

    veggie tofu scramble. $4.50 plus tempeh bacon. $2.95

    i wanted to love j’s kitchen so much, i really did. i drove all the way from mother-fuckin’ hollywood and met my vegan-enthusiast friend there at 8am. we were so stoked to be trying out a new vegan breakfast joint on the westside….the 50 minute drive didn’t even phase me. when we arrived, however, we were told that the chef “decided not to come in until 8:30” that day. we had the choice of getting some cold breakfast, or waiting a bit longer for the stuff that was advertised on the menu. we decided to wait. and wait. and wait. at 8:30, the chef still wasn’t there. she arrived at more like 8:45 or 8:50, and the food we received definitely didn’t justify the amount of time we had to sit around.

    my friend ordered the veggie tofu scramble, pictured above, which was basically a mix of bland tofu and bell peppers. the tempeh bacon was an extra 3 bucks for just two slices, and they tasted like they came straight out of a box. even after adding a ton of salt, the scramble was still pretty tasteless. now i understand that macrobiotic food is a whole new game, but if seed and m cafe can make such awesome dishes, j’s kitcen really has no excuse.

    breakfast burrito. $7.95 plus tempeh bacon. $2.95

    breakfast burrito. $7.95 plus tempeh bacon. $2.95

    i ordered the breakfast burrito, which was small and not very flavorful. i can’t believe it cost nearly $8! $3 dollars more than the scramble, and about the same amount of food. while the burrito wasn’t horrible to start with, it went from “meh” to “fucking disgusting” instantly when i found a long, black, curly hair all wrapped around the tofu at the bottom of the burrito. that’s it. breakfast over.

    who knows, maybe my experience was a one off and usually j’s kitchen is great. some stuff on the menu did look pretty good, and i’ve heard great things about it on other sites. i just know that hair in my food was enough to gross me out for awhile, and the blandness of everything else makes me feel like i’m not missing much. sure, maybe i will return for lunch someday…but not any time soon.

    here’s a copy of the menu, since it isn’t available on their site.
    js-kitchen-menu-front-back js-kitchen-menu-inside

    here’s to hoping j’s kitchen gets their act together! they are in a great location, and another good vegan restaurant on the westside would be a wonderful thing.

    j's kitchen on abbot kinney in venice

    j's kitchen on abbot kinney in venice

    j’s kitchen
    1239 abbot kinney blvd.
    venice, ca 90291


    open 8am to 4pm
    monday thru saturday

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15 responses to “j’s kitchen. blech.” RSS icon

  • scott had recently told me about this place… I was skeptical already and now I know not to go. sorry you didnt have a better experience.

  • Ugh!! That’s gross and pathetic at the same time. Most of us non-chef vegans can at least make a good ‘fu scramble.

  • I guess the idea is to grab food for a beach picnic? If Seed is open there is NO REASON ON EARTH to go to J’s. The place just makes absolutely no sense. Its too small for a vegan restaurant business. Smaller than Flore Cafe.

  • I second that Lex! With SEED nearby why go to a crappy vegan establishment?? Hopefully it was just a “fluke” and J’s will wise up real quick!

  • How sad and pathetic…

  • $3 for 2 strips of tempeh?!

  • Just the fact that the chef didn’t show up when the restaurant opened would keep me away but, the overpriced blandness and the HAIR! No way!

  • Yikes what a let down! That also sounds like you had the mishaps of a disgruntled chef too =/ OMG I miss Doomies but thankfully Mr. Doomie is still doing catering with the aim of finding a better location to start again.

  • I was in Venice yesterday and walked into J’s Kitchen. The menu was so small (and expensive!) and the deli case was so empty and pathetic looking that I decided to bail without ordering anything.

    Cheapest lunch item was a BLT for $9, which isnt’ bad…but the bento boxes and other items were $12-$14 and the interior of the place is sparse, to say the least.

    After reading your review, looks like I made the right call in walking out!

  • Hey, you guys should really give this place another shot. Seriously, I’m not even vegetarian and I eat here almost every day for lunch (I work in the area). Every person I take there loves it, so I keep bringing anyone who visits me in Venice. I always get the Bento Box, and without fail, people are amazed at how great the food tastes. $13 seemed like a lot to me, too, but I got hooked anyway. I think it may be my favorite lunch spot in LA now.

    I will grant you that finding a hair is gross. But I do know that the cook wears a hat. $#!t happens. Your pictures above are pretty unappetizing, too. Though if I carried a camera with me to lunch, I could show you a bunch of delicious-looking meals I’ve eaten. Maybe the breakfast just isn’t as good/photogenic?

    No argument about the hours. I really wish they were open for dinner.

    @Eric — don’t be fooled by the empty-looking deli case. I think they probably just do that so that the food is fresh, and they don’t have to throw things away. Also, you might have just arrived right after my coworkers and I came and devoured everything. Anyway, next time you’re there, ask for a sample of the cucumber salad thing.

  • I agree with your assessment. I moved to Venice recently and was starving, biked passed this on Abbot Kinney and thought I’d give it a try. I got the tempeh sandwich, which came on whole wheat toast bread, had a slice of cucumber and some vegenaise … and that was it! For almost $9. I could have made the same sandwich at home for half the price. Bad value, okay-ish food. Nothing that knocked my socks off. And bad value alone is enough for me to not go there again.

    For better vegan in the Venice area, Seed Kitchen is the place! Amazing food worth the money.

  • I just went to J’s today. There was some seating inside. A large wooden community type table that could seat 4-6. A smaller table for 2-4 and then a nice counter that can seat 4 or so. There were also 2 or so small tables outside on the edge of the sidewalk.I thought it was a small but clean and pretty place. I had the rice waffle which is topped with sweet adzuki beans and a tofu cream. I didn’t have the tofu cream because I don’t eat soy. It also came with maple syrup. It was delicious. I also had an order of fries which were OK but the home made ketchup I loved. They had 7 different dishes in the deli case, soup of the day, smoothies and a whole board with many different items on the menu. I think much of, if not all of their stuff is organic and all their utensils and plates are biodegradable. This is the type of business I like to support.

  • I went here a couple months ago and fell in love with their chicken salad wrap. It’s one of the best vegan dishes I’ve ever had and reminds me of leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches. At about $12, I only get it when I have to, although it’s so hearty it ends up being two meals.

    I also tried the BLT which wasn’t worth it, so I stick to the wrap when I go.

  • Visit Vardo Cafe a Vegan Gypsy Cafe on Main Street and Rose by Chaya. Nothing’s like it! Flavorful vegan Eastern dishes, Falafels, superfood smoothies, vegan ice cream, raw choices, etc., cozy with world ambiance and music. I’m there 3 times a week and some nights when it turns into a candle light bistro. Take your date..

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