“We have year-round access to amazing fruits and veggies here, and I love soup,” says Jesse Barber.
The chef, who just debuted his restaurant/gourmet retail spot Dudley Market in Venice, loves soup so much, that he’s serving it for lunch, dinner, and breakfast. Yes, breakfast. For Barber, the dish has no bounds. “Good gazpacho can be so refreshing, and a warm soup can be so nourishing,” he says, adding that he’s planning a ramen special for next Tuesday because, well, he loves ramen, too.
The menu at Dudley is California-centric, and like the farm-to-table fare Barber served at nearby Barnyard (where he acted as head chef for two years, putting down roots in the beachside neighborhood), the emphasis is on seasonal produce and local food. The daily offerings are on a come-and-go basis. “The menu is an ever-changing beast with appetite and movement that is hard to predict,” says Barber. “It will always change and I promise it will be good.”
Right now, the soup of the moment is a gazpacho that Barber collaborated on with his chef de cuisine, Wesley Barden. Every batch is a two-day process as the tomatoes are marinated in sherry vinegar and shallots for a full 24 hours. House pickles, pickle juice, garlic, onions, and lemon are added and left to coalesce some more for another day. It’s served with an avocado garnish, what Barber calls “the creamy element.”
While salads—a cobb and crab louie, for instance—also show up on the breakfast menu, there are plenty of more traditional a.m. dishes like french toast and a simple eggs, toast, and bacon or sausage plate. Barber’s personal favorite is a classic French soft omelette with soft shell crab and a frisée salad. This kicker is that the crab, battered and fried, is served along side the omelette.
“I think that Ludo at Petit Trois is doing a really good one right now as well, but I like the twist of mine,” says Barber. “Slightly unexpected, but really fun and delicious.”
Barber is also excited to be offering an all-day menu in Venice, which he says is hard to come by in the area. “There are great places to eat for breakfast and dinner all over, but I really like the idea of a tapas-style menu in the middle of the afternoon,” he says. He’s also proud to be offering local goods in Dudley’s retail section, where customers can purchase everything from Uashmama cellulose backpacks to Whirley Pop popcorn makers. Products from Little Branch Granola, Community Grains, and Ritual Chocolate are also on the shelves. Chicken and duck eggs from Apricot Lane Farms could be coming soon, too.
If soup for breakfast isn’t your thing, house-rolled gnocchi and a pork chop just hit the dinner menu this week.
Dudley Market, 9 Dudley Ave., (424)744-8060