Restaurant: Michael’s Santa Monica
Location: 1147 Third Street, Santa Monica, CA 90403. 310-451-0843
Date: February 14, 2013
Cuisine: New American
Rating: Great job with a tough night
Valentines is a notoriously difficult night to get a great meal on. The frenzied rush to maximize profits usually results in lackluster service and stilted over-priced fixed menus.
The first Valentines my wife and I celebrated was at Michaels, a Santa Monica staple that many credit for inventing New Californian cuisine, so we decided to head back and try it out. Things have been substantially updated this year both in decor and with regard to the menu — which is a necessity for any restaurant entering it’s 4th decade!
Michaels has a fantastic garden in back, which remains a nice temperature all year round due to heat lamps.
The ripe pear and hazelnut nose is marred by a note of lactic acid that leads to rich, sweet and generous medium-bodied flavors that possess good detail on the linear finish. I found this to be a bit disappointing reative to what I originally saw in cask as the nose is curious. This was a tad “advanced”, way more oxidized than it should have been.
Fromage blanc infused with maple and salmon roe.
Roasted Winter Squash Soup. Sherry Gastrique, Burrata, Sage, Chive.
Cowgirl (WA) and Cowboy (NY) Oysters on the half shell, Citrus Mignonette.
Asian Pear with Thyme, Citrus Brown Butter, Walnuts, Pecorino Fiore Sardo.
Seared Ahi Tuna “Carpaccio Style” Parsley, Roasted Garlic, Bone Marrow Vinaigrette.
Grilled Wild Stripped Bass. English Peas, Caramelized Shallots, Orange Nage.
Braised Prime Short Ribs. Coconut Polenta, Watercress and Pickled Chile Salad, Aromatic Soy Reduction.
Chocolate-Hazelnut Bar. Almond/Sesame Brittle, Blood Orange Caramel, Creme Fraiche.
Coconut Tapioca Pudding. Berry Caramel, Lime Zest, Coconut Oat Crisp.
This was both a nice menu and good execution. There were a few small service errors, but they recovered nicely. Overall, as Valentines dinners, go this was a very good one and we need to return and try the new menu on a regular night.