Good Morning Eats: Brunch at Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

A little Southern inspiration has settled in Venice on Abbot Kinney with the arrival of a permanent location of Wolf in Sheep's Clothing (WiSC).

Taking over the former Lilly's space on Abbot Kinney, though the name comes from a prior pop-up with incredible chefs who've gone on to other projects, owner John Mascarenhas has brought on board new talent at the stoves for this brick-and-mortar venture.

Executive Chef Kevin Kathman supplies his culinary acumen to the Southern roots Mascarenhas has brought to the table. And when it comes to their new brunch menu, what's being brought to the tables of the bright and open space are rich, soulful dishes that will not only stick to your ribs but stick to your mind and make you want to come back for more.

Familiar Southern dishes will please with their restrained elegance and tremendous depth. The Shrimp and Grits is not for the faint of heart; packed with savory accent flavors and the heartiness of bacon and cheese, the delicate grits and tender shrimp manage to deliver bite after luxurious bite.

If you've got an amenable companion, you'd do best to split your tastebuds between something rich and savory like the grits and something sweet, like the pancakes studded with bourbon-cooked banana slices topped with a maple cream and candied pecans.

Alternatively, settle in for a quintessential breakfast treat: Chicken and waffles. Impossibly moist fried chicken with a crunchy, well-seasoned coating are paired with fluffy waffles, and served with a side of gravy so darn good you may be tempted to spoon it up like the chowder it visually resembles. It's a deceptive dish; what seems so simple is actually plentiful with robust flavors. Indeed, you have a wolf in sheep's clothing here, and I was happily duped.

Though you can enjoy a breakfast at WiSC and keep it to the deep South, you can also swing a little to the West and experience Tex-Mex dishes like Chilaquiles or Pork with Green Chili. And if you are in the spirit for spirits, there's a cocktail menu curated by Daniel Nelson, partner and head mixologist of the Writer’s Room in Hollywood. Pair your brunch indulgences with something light and spicy, like the Car Car (Gin, Jicama, Ginger, Apple, Kaffir Lime Leaf, and Anise Seed) or a fiery Bloody Mary (which they will obligingly make sans booze as needed).

If by some miracle you've saved room for dessert, you can fill that last corner of room in your belly with their bread pudding, which teases the boundaries of modern meets traditional, thanks to the smoky infusion of bacon flavor delivered via "powder" on the chocolate-painted plate. Though this may leave you groaning and wondering how you'll ever eat again, just like the trickery the name WiSC suggests, you'll likely soon wonder when you'll be back for brunch again.

Brunch is served at WiSC Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.