Venice Beach Wines’ “Lambwich” Might Be One of the Best Sandwiches in L.A.
If you work, or ever eat lunch, in Venice or Santa Monica you have to check out tuesday’s Profiled Lunch’er, “Jeff”. His recommendations have given me at least a week’s worth of west side lunches… including the meatloaf sandwich at Bay Cities (who knew?) and an entry for my Cheap Chinese Food Challenge. But the one rec that stood out the most was the “Lambwich” from Venice Beach Wines (on Rose btw Lincoln and Pacific).
Last month Los Angeles Magazine and Grub Street both released lists of the “Best Sandwiches in Los Angeles” and the lambwich wasn’t mentioned in either. After trying it yesterday, I think we might have an addition to the canon.
Venice Beach Wines isn’t exactly a typical Midtown Lunch spot. It’s a cramped, upscale store on Rose, with a nice selection of wines and beer on one side, a small food counter on the other. There is outdoor seating where you order from a waitress, but there are no real tables- just a bench that wraps around the porch, with a few thin tables. (So unless you grab a corner seat, you’ll be sitting next to the person you’re eating with- not across from them.)
The lunch menu is what you’d expect from a place like this… pressed sandwiches, salads and smaller plates, plus charcuterie and cheese. But the big surprise was the price. Nothing was over $10, and all the sandwiches came with chips and a salad. They just started serving brunch on the weekends- but that’s not what this site is all about. Lambwich… here we come!
The sandwich starts as a leg of lamb, which gets rubbed with curry and roasted, then sliced thin and topped with manchego, fresh mint pesto, and this tomato-ey onion mixture. The bread comes from Lonzo’s in Culver City (good), and the whole thing gets pressed, and cut into fours. The lamb was a tiny bit overcooked but the thin slices were still really tender and very tasty from the curry, almost like a fancy gyro or a well seasoned shawarma. If it wasn’t enough flavor for you, it came with a creamy harissa (?) dipping sauce kind of thing. (How can that be bad?) My initial fat guy instincts are to say that it’s too small for $9.50, but they don’t really skimp on the lamb- and it was pretty rich, so I don’t know how much more I could have eaten. Plus, the chips and salad make it a completely filling meal. A definite winner.
Don’t like lamb? They’ve got plenty of other choices… like the brie, grape, basil and truffle oil sandwich (as gooey and tuffle-oily as it sounds) and a buffalo burger, which sounds good but I will probably never try. I just can’t see myself ordering anything but the lambwich. Super thanks to Lunch’er Jeff for this one… can’t wait to try the rest of his recommendations.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- Quality upscale sandwiches, with chips and a salad for under $10? Yes please.
- I love the idea of a winebar version of a lamb shawarma sandwich. So good!
- Covered out door patio FTW!
- Potato chips are really good, and I like that it also comes with a small salad
- There’s nothing better than a sophisticated lunch for under $10
- I like having a nice glass of wine with lunch…
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Seating area might be fine for a wine bar, but not for lunch.
- Lunch with a big group would not be comfortable.
- If I want shawarma, I’ll go to a Middle Eastern restaurant… not a wine bar.
- I don’t care if it comes with chips and salad, the sandwich is too small for $10.
- I’m a cheap bastard who doesn’t like to tip.
- I prefer my lamb to be stewed (like they do at Lemonade or Mendocino Farms). This was a bit too dry for me.
- I’m an alcoholic… lunch at a wine bar is not a good idea.
Venice Beach Wines, 529 Rose Ave. (btw. Pacific and Lincoln), 310-606-2529