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Wilshire Restaurant

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My partner was in the mood for a place tonight that's outside of our usual rotation of restaurants and was hoping for ambiance that was better than our typical hole-in-the-wall selections. He had been thinking about going to The Charleston for awhlie, apparently. For whatever reason, I was hesitant to go The Charleston, so I suggested Wilshire. He thought it was too pricey.

The hostess at The Charleston was wearing glittery hotpants.... Not a good start. The live music was WAY too loud. The waitresses were dressed as steam punk women of the night. The high top tables were so close together we're not sure how normal-sized adults were supposed to fit around them.

We decided to leave and to go next door to Wilshire Restaurant. We were seated immediately (around 7PM) in the indoor area (all the patio tables had apparently been reserved). The complimentary sourdough (warmed) was delicious, w/ a nicely crispy crust and a fluffy crumb. We ordered the mussels, the roasted beets, and the special fish (the waiter might've said it was "galeana"? He said it was in the cod family). We greatly enjoyed all the dishes. The mussels tasted fresh (although some of them seemed to still have a bit of silt in shells.... hmph) and had a lovely, light broth that tasted a lot like panang curry. The roasted yellow beets were combined w/ hazelnuts and melted burrata. I could've done w/o the hazelnuts and would've liked a larger portion of beets! The fish was served w/ fennel, fennel puree, blistered tomatos, blanced garlic, a light tomato sauce. It was perfectly cooked (tender flesh but fantastically crispy skin).

I don't know much about wine, so I asked the waiter for a recommendation for a red that was fruity and not too dry. We recommended the Melville (?) pinot noir, which had a wonderful aroma and was indeed not too dry.

My only criticism of the food is that the flavors were fairly tame (although all the ingredients were all high-quality).... But perhaps that's what the Santa Monica crowd wants? Service was polite, unobstrusive, and knowledgable (well, at least *our* waiter was knowledge.... The one helping the table next to us seemed considerably less so).

The bill (including tax) was $104 for an entree, 2 sides, 2 glasses of wine, one mixed drink (the "Captain Kirk," which my partner tasted like a hodgepodge -- and not necessarily a coherent one -- of different liquors). Pricey, yes, but not unreasonable given the ambiance and the simple but tasty preparation of the food.

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  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I concur. The restaurant is nice. The service is amiable. The food is solid, without being memorable. Your comment about the patio being booked reminds me of the fact that, every time I call a restaurant such as the Wilshire and ask for seating in a specific section, I inevitably get told "We will note your request, but we can't guarantee it." And yet, other people seem to have special powers when it comes to doing the very same thing... ;-D>

    3 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      our experience again, recently, was very small portions: $32.95 for three coin size slices of lamb with two tablespoons of couscous and a few brussel sprouts. We too asked for the patio but were steered to a corner in the inside. Sometimes I wonder if I should become Princess Zoez and see if that gets me to a better table.

      1. re: ZoeZ

        "Sometimes I wonder if I should become Princess Zoez and see if that gets me to a better table."

        Not a bad plan. I'm going to try making my seating requests using the "Earl of Mar Vista" and see what that gets me...

        1. re: Servorg

          You two are too funny.... ;) We didn't actually ask for a patio table but were spontaneously told it wasn't available. ;) They led a near constant (and rather hysterical) procession of people out there, so perhaps the royalty of the westside had booked early. ::snort:: The hostess leading them outside looked like she was 18 and like she was wearing a dress for the first time. Very slouchy and somewhat awkward-looking. And people-watching pretty interesting. ;) My partner and I very much enjoyed creating narratives for the patrons there. Unfortunately, the narratives are NOT suitable for sharing....