Abbot Kinney in Venice isn't just cute clothing boutiques, art galleries and vintage furniture shops. That's only 90% of Abbot Kinney. The other 10% is made up of casual fine dining establishments and precious cafes.
If you were shooting a movie set in Venice, California (which means you'd probably be filming in Vancouver) and had to create a quintessential Abbot Kinney cafe from scratch (for the scene where the 30-something year old male lead - played by Tom Hanks - woos the 30-something year old female lead - played by Kristen Stewart), you would end up with something like 3 Square. There would be outdoor seating, an oh-so-casual feel to the space and the hostess would be beautiful but indie enough so she wasn't intimidating (let's go with Ellen Page - requisite Canadian).
Check, check, check. 3 Square is the kind of cafe that a Venice-living celebrity photographer like Randall Slavin would walk over to, park his dog at the curb and have a leisurely weekend brunch (let's call it…Wednesday).
With all that, you might think the food would be an afterthought. I can't say I believed my friend Randall's high burger praise, but we went to check it out one fine California afternoon. I was willing to take that risk (yes, I like extreme sports like burger hunting).
3 Square was my second burger on this LA trip (after The Apple Pan), and it was fantastic. Pretzel bun, gooey melted cheese, and what's this - a fried egg on top? Okay, I'm sold. Throw in some fries, and I'm reminded of the one burger area that I feel the Japanese could use some additional practice. Let's just say it like this - when it comes to fried foods, don't fuck with America. The french fries at 3 Square were amazing - possibly better than the burger, and better than any fries I've had in Japan (crispy duck fat fries at the Park Hyatt are decent, but 3 Square is better and the fries were not $14 plus a $22 cover charge).
Days like this and I could almost imagine living in Venice again. Almost.
Ambience 7/10, Burger 9/10, Fries 9/10