Restaurant: Tar & Roses [1, 2, 3, 4]
Location: 602 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90401. (310) 587-0700
Date: July 16, 2021
Cuisine: American Tapas
Rating: Has not only held up but improved
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 an extremely popular addition.
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.
Years ago (2015) I had a few issues with service here, but after some good takeout experiences during lockdown decided to head back in summer of 2021 with my parents and family.
The space is airy and pleasant.
There is a nice patio too (not pictured) which is actually where we sat on this particular day.
The current menu.
YELLOWTAIL CRUDO. Citrus / Avocado / Jalapeño / White Soy. Very zesty.
OXTAIL DUMPLINGS. San Bai Su / Chili / Green Onion. Super tasty with a lot of umami.
MOORISH MARINATED LAMB KABOB. Banana Raita / Harissa. Nice grilled lamb flavor.
BABY ARTICHOKES. Garlic Confit / Parmesan / Lemon Yogurt / Mint.
BALSAMIC GLAZED RIBS. Aleppo Pepper / Fried Basil. Awesome.
Wood roasted baby carrots.
SQUID INK FETTUCINI. Octopus / Blistered Tomato / Basil.
From my cellar: 1996 Robert Ampeau & Fils Volnay 1er Cru Santenots. 91 points. Hazy, sour cherry, sous bois.
I brought another wine too a NV Krug Champagne Brut Grande Cuvée Edition 168eme — but forgot to photo it.
SHELLFISH POT. Scallops / Clams / Mussels / Shrimp / Maitake / Curry. The broth was awesome with a very strong southeast Asian flavor.
ALASKAN KING SALMON. Tiny Beans / Escarole / Tomato / Salsa Verde.
WHOLE FRIED SNAPPER FOR TWO. Cold Soba Noodles / Dipping Sauce. Fabulous dish. The fish sauce (not pictured) really made the dish.
EGGPLANT. Crispy Garlic / Chili / Slivered Almonds. Hints of both Middle Eastern and Chinese.
KING TRUMPET MUSHROOMS. Soft Egg / Rosemary.
Overall, this was an excellent meal. The patio was great in the “mid-late covid era” and service was good. I think the food has tightened and brightened up a bit since their early days. I liked the variety of mildly exotic influences — and the flavors were strong.
Everyone really enjoyed it.