About a month ago, Sauce on Hampton opened in the former Jimmy's on Hampton space, just off Rose Avenue in Venice. Unless you're a local or a regular at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, where 25-year-old chef-owner Sassan Rostamian (right) gets much of his produce -- or you spend a lot of time at Max Muscle, which is next door -- you might not have noticed. That's because Sauce doesn't have a sign or a website or even an awning yet.
The menu is simple, with no dish more than $11. For breakfast, there are frittatas and omelets made with organic eggs, and steel-cut oatmeal with flax meal and blueberries. The lunch and dinner menu features salads, tapas (caramelized mushrooms and shallots over polenta cakes), sandwiches (grilled cheese with applewood bacon, tomatoes, red onions and aioli) and burgers. Among the bigger plates: "Charleston char shiu" pulled pork. The sides are vegetable-oriented, such as sauteed shaved fennel, and quinoa with seasonal vegetables. And for dessert, there's baked quince with saffron-rosewater sauce and yogurt.
Rostamian, who is from Los Angeles and holds a degree in chemistry from UCLA, recently spent 10 months at Rustic Canyon, where he was the lunch chef. Before that, he cooked his way across Europe, doing stints in kitchens in Amsterdam, Rome and Florence. He just hung the pictures he took of Dutch tulips on Friday, in the tiny (15- by 12-foot) dining room. You can sit outside too, if you don't mind sharing the sidewalk with parked skateboards. The little restaurant does a lot of takeout business, and this is Venice, after all.
Sauce on Hampton, 259 Hampton Drive, Venice. (310) 399-5400. (Website under construction.) Open daily, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
-- Amy Scattergood
Photo of Sassan Rostamian in front of Sauce on Hampton, by Amy Scattergood.