Every neighborhood needs that one place. The place where you can walk in at 7pm on a Friday, actually get a table, and still eat some excellent food. If you’ve ever tried to do that in Venice though, you’ve probably had a person wearing artfully torn jean shorts laugh openly in your face. But now Venice has Chez Tex, where instead of models with a personality disorder, you’ll be greeted by normal people who’ll smile at you and get a drink in your hand immediately.
In fact, we’ve never received any attitude at Chez Tex. What we have received is excellent bistro food, useful wine advice (always accompanied by a sample), and that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you’ve been to a restaurant once, but they recognize you when you walk back in the next time. Venice might be full of tourists taking photos of donuts on Abbot Kinney, but Chez Tex isn’t here for them.
Nothing about Chez Tex is going to have you frantically texting everyone you know that they have to get here right now. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of potential for this to become your regular spot. The brick-walled space is kind of sparse (and there are only ten or so tables and a few seats at the bar), but it’s somehow still a place where you want to hang out. The menu is full of simple classics like a burger, roast chicken, beet and goat cheese, and a regularly-changing pasta. Chez Tex is an easy option, but it’s also a great one.
The best use case for Chez Tex might be showing up while the sun’s still up, ordering a bottle of wine, and digging into a bunch of snacks. Soon enough, two hours (and two bottles) will have gone by and you’ll need a burger. Whatever happens, they’ll definitely remember you when you come back. Because you will be back.
You’d think a plate of tiny boiled potatoes and butter would be boring. You’d think wrong. The butter on these is so good we could eat it on it’s own. Which is to say, we already have.
Admit it: beets taste a little bit like dirt. But they don’t at Chez Tex, which probably has something to do with all the goat cheese. Even without the cheese, this is a nice change from the usual salad form.
Big, crisp pieces of lettuce, lots of dressing, even more cheese, and a ‘seared crouton’ that is actually just a piece of toast. This is everything you want in a salad.
The chicken itself is great - roasted, with crispy skin and perfectly cooked meat. But the leek bread pudding it comes with is actually incredible. It’s sweet and crunchy and bready, and if someone brought us a big bowl of this on its own we would eat it all.
We like our burgers simple. Which is just what happens here - cheese, lettuce, onions (in marmelade form), tomatoes (of the sun dried variety), and mayo (with some dijon in there too). Ok fine, it’s not that simple, but it feels like it is, and also doesn’t make you want to take a three-hour nap afterwards. This is a good burger.
Pot de creme sounds a lot better than “pot of cream,” but that’s pretty much what you’re getting here. And that’s a good thing. Hazelnutty, chocolatey, and creamy, make everyone at your table share this with you. If they won’t, just get it for yourself.