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
Michael’s is a Santa Monica classic, having been at heart of the birth of “California Cuisine” back in the 80’s, but things have been a bit staid for a long time. Now with a new chef shaking things up the food is bright and modern again.
The bar doesn’t look much different.
But it’s the garden that has always rocked. They don’t make spaces like this anymore!
From my cellar: 2006 Pierre Morey Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières. BH 93. Again, as one would reasonably expect, this is more elegant still with a pure and refined nose of white flower, wet stone, fennel and a hint of honeysuckle that is also picked up by the citrusy, sweet and marvelously intense flavors that possess a bit more volume than usual. A very classy effort that will age well.
Dungeness crab chawanmushi. uni, ginger sprout, Japanese sesame. I always love these light egg custards.
Yellowfin tuna tartare. Flax sseeds, kanzuri, yerba mate creme fraiche.
Spaghetti a la chitarra. Lamb sausage bolognese, garlic confit, smoked ricotta.
Potatoes a la plancha. Parmigiano reggiano, bonito flakes, furikake aioli.
Mixed baby lettuces. market vegetables, herbs & seeds, red wine vinaigrette.
From my cellar: 1993 Domaine Marquis d’Angerville Volnay 1er Cru Champans. 92 points. Dry game and cinnamon; not quite as vibrant but still fine. Volnay is so elegant and has such legs to age. Perfect with roasted marrow.
Grilled branzino. Black carrot puree, winter citrus, calabrian chile.
Black garlic rice. vinegar roasted turnips, sumac yogurt, pickled wasabi leaf.
Duck breast. Huckleberry juniper pickle, chrysanthemum, delicata squash.
Denver steak. Porcini bordelaise, Russian kale, hedgehog mushrooms.
Ricotta Gnudi. Black trumpet sugo, green garlic, frill mustard.
Whipped cheesecake. Walnut, sour cream curd, graham cracker sable.
Hazelnut chocolate ganache. Pistachio pound cake, rice syrup, orange.
The menu at Michael’s is radically updated. Gone is the sort of 80s/90s larger plates with more French influence and in its place the newer, brighter style of vaguely fusion share plates. But the flavors were very good and execution spot on. Plus the garden is still a lovely spot. Compare to this meal from a few years ago.