After the Golden Bull changed hands (our local comfort food hangout), I’ve been looking for a replacement – a cool place to get drinks and decent food. Don’t get me wrong the Golden Bull’s new owners are doing a nice job, but it still doesn’t feel like a restaurant I want to frequent that often. However, I have found that place – Native in Santa Monica.
Native is in the former Santa Monica Yacht Club space offering not only great farm-to-table cuisine with an Asian flair, but also an awesome happy hour, daily – where you can get a super casual meal, like a burger & fries, deviled eggs, oysters and bacon bites with cocktails. The Chef is Nyesha Arrington, formerly of Leona in Venice, CA and I think she has something very engaging to offer. Her food isn’t too fancy, but her emulsions, vinegar combinations and infused yogurts add a fun fresh twist to her plates.
Some of the dishes that I thought really set her apart from other local farm-to-table establishments is her Kombu Scented Potato with Arugula Seaweed Butter and her Asparagus with Green Garlic Pistou, Puffed Rice Kernels and Truffle Vinaigrette. The potatoes are roasted and creamy on the inside with an essence of the sea, that smells like your floating on a raft in the pacific. As for the asparagus – thick stalks of crunch with an earthy vinegar splash, and nasturtiums sprinkled about – both incredible.
A special that evening was Pink Trout with a Tamarind Glaze & Patty Pan Squash – lusciously tender and super charred on the exterior from the sugars in the marinade. A side of Grilled Artichokes with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette and Za’atar crumble was like a walk through the local farmer’s market – which is always a good thing.
I hope I didn’t blow my chances of getting a table now that the word is out. There is also great patio seating on a warm night in Los Angeles – see you there!