Things Are Going South

Willie Jane

Want a little taste of the South? If so, Willie Jane in Venice nails it with their Southern fare. The location is right on the trendy strip of Abbot Kinney near other favorites like Joe's and Primitivo. If you can, request a table on the patio as heat lamps abound! Chef Govind Armstrong serves up some serious eats. As a teeneger, Armstrong worked on the line at the original Spago. Now he brings his talent to Willie Jane with refined Southern cooking. Start your meal off with a specialty cocktail like Mississippi Tea (vodka, Altar Herbal) or the Coal Miner's Daughter (Bourbon, ginger syrup, lemon juice, honey and lavender). Most of Armstrong's hearty fruits and vegetable come from Geri Miller's urban farm, Cook's Garden right next door. The buttermilk biscuits with burnt orange butter are buttery, soft and flakey ($2 each). Mary's chicken is fried crisp and juicy and some of the best around. Half a chicken is served with Snipped Garden Leaves. ($18). Cast Iron chicken with Poached Garlic and Grilled Lemon ($19) is perfectly cooked and good-sized. The Mac 'n' Cheese with Herbed Bread Crumbs ($7) is big enough for two to split. True Southerners must try the Bourbon Smoked Rib Rack ($18) with Orange and Hibiscus glaze and the Black-Eyed peas simmered with ham hocks and kale. ($6) For dessert don't miss the oatmeal cookie sandwich! ($8) 1031 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice (310) 392-2425 

Reservations necessary/Valet Parking

Recommended Dishes: Mary's Chicken, cast iron chicken, shrimp and grits, simmered greens with pickled peppers, raisin oatmeal cookie sandwich.

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