Location: 2732 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405. (424) 330-0020
Date: January 15, 2020
Cuisine: Bistro French
Rating: Really good
Pasjoli is an elevated French bistro from award-winning chef Dave Beran. The restaurant pays homage to French cuisine utilizing the bounty of produce available in Southern California. Dave Beran is the guy behind Dialogue, which I didn’t love on my single visit (but I do need to try again). In any case, looking at the photos of Pasjoli (before I went) it looked very good: straight up but precise rich French cooking.
It’s located on Main Street, on the Venice end of Santa Monica. Rooted in classic French cuisine and inspired by the Parisian markets, Pasjoli reflects Beran’s thoughtful cooking style, showcasing his creative touches on bistro fare.
The front has been built out in a very Parisian style.
The interior is Bistro crossed with LA contemporary.
Quite attractive though.
From my cellar: 2002 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Cuvée Nicolas-François Billecart. VM 94. The 2002 Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart comes across as rich, powerful and opulent. This latest release of the 2002 was disgorged in July 2015 and finished with a Chardonnay-based liqueur whereas the previous release, disgorged in May 2014, was finished with a Pinot Noir-based liqueur. This is a distinctly vinous, almost shockingly raw, visceral Champagne from Billecart-Salmon. There is no shortage of volume or intensity, that is for sure. Stylistically, this year’s release inhabits a whole other world relative to last year’s release. Dosage is 4 grams per liter. (Drink between 2018-2042)
Salade d’endives. black walnut, grapefruit, comté. Classic French endive salad with a newer presentation.
Ragoût d’oignons caramélisés. caramelized onion, gruyère, pâte brisée. Nice and rich, like a cheese onion mousse. Sort of a reconfigured onion soup — sort of.
Crabe et chou-fleur. blue crab, cauliflower cream, sorrel. Great “salad”. Bright flavors and lots of clean crabby taste.
Quenelle. scallop, caviar beurre blanc. Not your classic quenelle (the omelet-like log in lobster bisque sauce), this was a buttery feathery light mousse with lots of caviar. Nice balance of butter and briney fish eggs.
From my cellar: 1999 Domaine / Maison Vincent Girardin Charmes-Chambertin. VM 92+. Bright, saturated ruby. Vibrant aromas of blackberry and violet. Powerful but juicy and not at all heavy. A wonderfully fresh wine of terrific verve. Still tight on the firmly tannic back end. Quite fine, though.
Truite amandine. rainbow trout, smoked roe, French beans.
Homard vol-au-vent. lobster, melted leeks, sauce béarnaise. Super rich, but fabulous. Lobster, pastry, shellfish sauce. What’s not to love?
The duck comes out on its bed of rosemary and they first cut off the breasts.
It’s semi-raw, as the breasts will be finished back in the kitchen.
The carcass is chopped up and…
Goes in the “torture device press.”
The “jus” (blood and drippings) is then pressed out and combined with wine, cognac, etc and cooked into a sauce.
Duck breast meat returning from the kitchen looking perfect.
Avec le jus. About as good a European/French style duck breast as I’ve had. Not as good as a great Peking duck, but what is?
You can see the fat / flavor emulsion here.
Gratin dauphinois. These were basically perfect potatoes layered with dairy. Really delicious.
Salad of salanova lettuce and duck leg. Delicious salad.
Each duck has it’s own unique numbered card.
The dessert menu.
Soufflé au chocolat. Bitter chocolate, vanilla ice cream.
Riz au lait. Rice pudding, 8-hour roasted pineapple, rum. Spectacular creamy rice pudding nicely complemented by the pineapple and caramel/rum sauce.
Caramel rum sauce for the rice pudding.
The check came in this cute book. Service was all built into the prices.
I really liked everything about Pasjoli. It’s not cheap, but it felt worth it. The decor is elegant/updated. The service was very friendly and efficient. Food was extremely on point. Updated French bistro fare, so nothing felt dated. Great flavors. It’s very rich. If you like “light” this probably isn’t your cup of jus.