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Oct 10, 2007 04:24 PM

Santa Monica Rec's

Anything new in Santa Monica? I'm having dinner there Saturday PM. I've made a reservation at Josie which is my go-to place but wondering if there's anything else I should be trying. Have done most (I think) of the standard spots, most of which I'm lukewarm about. I did Melisse ages ago which was great. The restaurant at Shutters is fine but I prefer Josie. Joe's in Venice I am blah about. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Has anyone been to Cezanne?



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  1. Abode, Catch, Rustic Canyon and Hiden are all pretty new.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mollyomormon

      all good recommendations...although i would drop hidden and add via veneto, giorgio baldi's, la botte (although i havent been in a few months)

      i would not go to cezanne

      i have had a bunch of good meals at drago lately, but only lunches

      also--stop by the penthouse at the huntley hotel for a drink first...

      1. re: JE33

        I did not enjoy my one dinner at La Botte. The space is pretty, but I found the service a bit off (our server was with attitude and very affected for no reason) and I have even forgotten the food -- this was only a couple of months ago. The prices are high, even with the attitude!

      2. re: mollyomormon

        The new chef at Abode (Kabaoglu) has been busy adding new dishes to the menu really making it reflective of his culinary style. If the chestnut soup and snails are any indication of things to come, Abode's new offerings will really make a trip out to Santa Monica worthwhile. I dined at Abode just prior to the previous chef's exit and again last week when Kabaoglu took over. Two different experiences. This time, the food seemed to encompass more of a comforting quality, but still maintained its modern presentation. I was really happy with the experience!

      3. Robata Bar just opened Tuesday next to Sushi Roku. They don't take reservations, though.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Juji

          ugh, roku in s.m. is so bad i'd definitely wait to hear some reviews of the robata bar before i risked eating there.

          josie is still one of my all-time faves.

        2. To echo Molly: Abode, Catch, Rustic Canyon, all are very good - Hidden can be great, it can also be so-so.

          I hear the Abode chef just quit, though.

          7 Replies
          1. re: yogachik

            Do not go to Catch at all costs. It was collectively the worst high-end meal I've experienced in Santa Monica. 8 people, 8 entrees, 8 appetizers and not a single person like any component of their meals.

            JiRaffe is a really nice place to consider.

            1. re: ElJeffe

              That's terrible! I go to Catch about once a week, always have had a great meal.

            2. re: yogachik

              Go to Abode. The chef did not quit. She's the owner.

              1. re: PaliBruin

                The owner is Anastasia Israel. Dominique Crenn is the chef, and she just quit.

                1. re: hrhboo

                  Well if that's the case than Ms. Crenn lied to our whole table on two different occasions. Are you sure she had 0 ownership?

                  1. re: PaliBruin

                    I'm not sure if she had any ownership, but was Executive Chef. The point is that she quit and has been replaced by Cyril Kabaoglu (per Eater). I'm very interested in where Crenn ends up and also in trying the new chef's food at Abode.

                  2. re: rosealee

                    Why? That's such a shame. She cooked one of the most fantastic meals for a group of 12 last summer, and all were impressed. Any news on where she is cooking now?

                1. re: wilafur

                  Have you been to Capo recently? I'm goning next week for the first time; any good tips?

                  1. re: vinosnob

                    you won't be disappointed. everything is great and unbeknownst to most, they have one of the best ny strips in good or better than any i've had...if you are an heirloom tomato person, be advised-the "burrata caprese" there is awesome and comes with loads of big slices of multi colored tomatoes, but the "heirloom tomato salad" is just a regular green salad with just a couple of tomatoes in it...i know many people who have been tripped up by that...the wine list there is great but not by any means cheap..we had a great bottle of o'shaugnessy cabernet there one time, and another time we had a linne calodo from paso in advance if you want to bring your own wine-it is not encouraged....

                    1. re: vinosnob

                      not's been about 8months. but i doubt much has changed since then.

                      you have to have the tomato and burrata salad. DIVINE!

                      1. re: vinosnob

                        Finally went to Capo last night and wow, that's one expensive restaurant. Fortunately, it was a business dinner. I liked the warmness of the room, but it's very loud; not Pizzeria Mozza loud, but you have to speak up to carry a conversation. Amusing people watching too i.e. older gentleman with very young, model-type dates and I swear I saw former 80s wrestler Randy “Macho Man” Savage.

                        We all thought the appetizers were the best part of the meal. The crab "torta" i.e. lump crab cake is outrageously good; presented in a skillet surrounded by a thin pool of lemony butter. The cake itself is chock full of lump Maryland crab meat; divine.

                        Another standout was the ravioli stuffed with pureed sweet corn and mascarpone with black truffles; decadently rich and delicious. The scallops with truffles were a letdown because they were overcooked and slightly chewy. However, the bbq calamari were tender, perfectly seasoned with a faint smoky flavor from the open almond-wood grill.

                        For entrees, we had the veal chop, wagyu strip and two of us ordered the rack of lamb; sides were either asparagus or uber buttered potato puree. At close to $50 each for the chop/lamb and $85 for the wagyu, I was expecting these would rock, but they were simply “good”. The rack was composed of about 6, very small chops and they were extremely tender, but I didn’t taste any of the grill flavor and they could have been seasoned better. The veal chop was Flintstones sized and the bite I had was good, but again, could have had more flavor and it was a tad dry. Last, the wagyu strip steak. This arrived pre-sliced with a side of asparagus and was cooked to a perfect medium rare. I just had wagyu for the first time at Picasso (in Vegas) and found it too rich and fatty for my tastes; perhaps because I had the filet cut. The strip steak at Capo was much more to my liking and was a nice balance between richness and a fine cut of grilled beef; the herb-infused oil they brush on the steak was a nice touch as well. However, I still think nothing beats a classic rib-eye.

                        Desserts were simple, but up to par; we had the chocolate soufflé and the beignets. The also brought us petit fours.

                        The wine list is impressive and the mark ups are substantial. We started with an ’03 Soter Brut Rose; crisp and lively in the mouth with soft notes of red berries; perfect way to start the night and went well our apps. Keeping with the Oregon theme, next we had an ’02 Francis Tannahill syrah. Deep, inky color, smoke and earth on the nose, medium body, black berries with a long, smooth finish; fantastic with the grilled meats.

                        Overall, I wouldn’t consider Capo a “must try” or one of the best restaurants in town. The atmosphere is charming and lively, but they’re charging a premium so the food has to be spot on and last night, it was not. If I went back, I think I would hit the bar and order apps and glass of wine or two.

                    2. My two favorites are Josie and Via Veneto. I also like the idea posted about drinks at the Penthouse first (but don't eat there!)

                      2 Replies