Q&A With Surfside Venice Chef Jesse Gutierrez
Located mere footsteps from the legendary Venice Beach boardwalk, Surfside Venice serves up some delicious California-style dishes which you can grab before or after you take in some sun on the sand. Surfside opened in June 2017 and is located in the spot once occupied by Danny’s. Surfside’s menu boasts some seasonal items, as well as some one-of-a-kind favorites (you must get the Korean Fries) from Surfside Chef Jesse Gutierrez, who previously worked at Paramount Studios.
“We have great food. It’s a great vibe. I think people should just check it out,” said Chef Jesse when we spoke. I got the chance to try out Surfside and order those very yummy Korean Fries, as well as the Veggie baguette sandwich, the Fried Chicken sandwich, the Squash flatbread (from the fall menu), and the Pink bikini cocktail. The food is served in a very welcoming atmosphere that has kept the charm of Danny’s, but Surfside has also put its own mark on the spot as well.
Chef Jesse was kind enough to sit down with me and answer a few questions about Surfside. Check it out below!
Do you have a personal favorite from the menu? Any item that you have a personal connection to?
The Korean fries. It’s something that I did at my old spot at Paramount. It’s something that, every time we do it, it’s been crazy good. So I kinda brought that here just to have some of that out here, you know. It’s not something that you see everywhere or anything or anywhere.
How has it been for you going from the Hollywood vibe at Paramount to Venice Beach?
It’s a drastic change. Out here, it’s very laid back. Like, everybody. Customers, even people that … I see them walking up and down. It’s very just chill. It’s very unique out here as well.
Being out here is so relaxing. I’ve even had some of my vendors be like, “Dude, I’ve never seen a staff so relaxed.” I mean, when you can just look outside and you can see the waves and everything. It’s rejuvenating.
So far, what has been the most popular dish on the menu?
I think the most popular overall is probably our burger. The Breakwater. We sell a lot of them. Before I changed the menu again, I went to see how many we’ve sold of everything, and the burger sold way more than anything else.
The menu changes seasonally. What inspires the change? Is it based on what’s available ingredients-wise or how you’re feeling?
I think it’s a little bit of both, like a little bit of everything. We kind of see it as what we would like to eat in the kitchen and what’s available. Obviously like now we have our soup, so it’s like, we don’t want soup during the summer when it’s hot, but when it’s colder, you definitely want that nice, hearty soup.
I’m just starting to look at the spring items that are gonna come up, so I’ll be like, “Okay, maybe this, this, and this would pair well.” But when we get to spring, that’s kind of what will be available, so then we’ll just move around it.
What was the first dish you ever cooked, personally or professionally?
I guess personally it was probably just at home, like when I was a kid, cooking breakfast. And then it was most likely just scrambled eggs or something. Which I guess that’s what it ends up usually being, something simple
I know one of my favorite dishes that I probably haven’t done since culinary school is coq au vin. To me that was like, oh my god, this is so great, I’m proud of this.