Restaurant: Tar & Roses [1, 2]
Location: 602 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90401. (310) 587-0700
Date: April 27, 2012
Cuisine: American Tapas
Rating: Tasty and good value
Tar & Roses is a new American tapas-style place in Santa Monica, loosely in the vein of Rustic Canyon or Gjelina. Despite the relative crowding of this market, it’s a welcome addition in my book because it breaks up the Italian Domination (a crazy large percentage of westside restaurants are from the boot).
The Chef & Owner is Andrew Kirschner, a Santa Monica-native who grew up in a family with a strong appreciation for travel, food and wine, Chef Andrew Kirschner initiated his cooking education at the age of fifteen with a summer job in the kitchen of a local restaurant. Like many great chefs, his culinary journey started as a job, but quickly turned into a passion. After Kirschner became the sous chef for Chadwick in Beverly Hills, and then a chef/partner at the popular neighborhood spot Table 8 in West Hollywood, where he met and bonded with his Tar & Roses sous chef, Jacob Wildman.
The space is airy and pleasant.
Trio of bruschetta, left to right: “roasted cherry tomato, burrata, basil” then “braised leek, marinated white anchovy” and “wood roasted eggplant, feta, pickled tomato, mint.”
“roasted beets / feta / tarragon / horseradish.”
“italian egg drop soup/ prosciutto / croutons / grana / paprika.” The flavor of this was mild, like a minestrone, definitely in the Italian palate.
“ricotta gnocchi / asparagus / ramps / breadcrumbs.” These were yummy, with a strong cream component.
“balsamic glazed ribs / chili / fried basil.” My favorite dish of the night.
“baby broccoli / parmesan pudding / breadcrumbs.” A tasty implementation of the vegetable.
“braised lamb belly / minted apple chutney.”
Overall, Tar & Roses was quite good and I plan to try it again. It was very similar in style to Rustic Canyon, but the portions were larger and the prices cheaper. I wasn’t totally blown away by all the dishes, but they were solid and the restaurant is new. If they tune things up a little I think it could be great.
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