Walking down Shattuck Avenue, I’ve passed Venus many times, but it never stood out to me, because I was always in a rush to go elsewhere. It wasn’t until my roommate gushed about how delicious brunch there was that I made a point to go there. Having arrived early, I peered inside and was surprised to see how small the restaurant really was. At first glance, it looks like a diner because of the different sauces and bottles on each table. I decided to wait inside and ordered a cappuccino before delving into menu. The cappuccino tasted similar to any other average cappuccino: a deep, roasted flavor that was slightly acidic. The taste of coffee pierced through, unmasked by milk and foam, but I had hoped for a stronger and purer taste with more layers and flavor profiles. My preferences go to full-bodied, rich cappuccinos with fruity and acidic notes, which this cappuccino did not have enough of.
Glancing at the menu, I had difficulty sifting through the numerous selections. There were brunch dishes, such as a chicken-and-sausage scramble, the “Venus Benedict” and an apricot almond chicken salad. In the end, I went for the lemon ricotta hotcakes, which I hadn’t seen anywhere else. The choice turned out to be amazingly satisfying even before I took a bite, as the fruity aroma rose up through the steam and into my nostrils. One bite in, I started gushing to my roommate, who was dining with me, about how quickly it melted in my mouth. The softness from the ricotta cheese that was smoothly mixed into the hotcake batter enhanced the melty texture, and chewing was almost unnecessary. Because ricotta is so mild and creamy, it only added moisture to the hotcakes, all the while preserving the pure sweetness of hotcakes that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The hotcakes also came with small servings of lemon curd and homemade blackberry sauce. The lemon curd was a bit too sweet, but when mixed with the tangy homemade blackberry sauce, the combination perfectly complemented the hotcakes. I will definitely be back for more of these lemon ricotta hotcakes, and I have high hopes for the other tantalizing names on Venus’ menus.
Venus is located at 2327 Shattuck Ave. Call 510-540-5950 for reservations.
Contact Annie Chang at [email protected]