“A look at…” is a new series examining restaurants that are kind enough to invite The Monster to sample their cuisine. Since these are hosted experiences and The Monster does not pay, the articles will not be reviews per se. Instead, they will shine a light on places that you should check out.
The first in the series, a look at 31Ten in Santa Monica.
The lounge to relax in.
This is where the party gets started.
Herein we have a huge surprise. 31Ten took over the space from Cache, previously Hidden and perhaps best known before that as Schatzi on Main, the restaurant and celeb hangout of former governor, action star and Mr. Universe Arnold Schwarzenneger.
Open Thursday to Saturday, The Monster is under the impression (wrongfully so) that this is merely a models and bottles type joint, a place to come late at night and get your swerve on.
And then The Monster discovers the chef is none other than Michael Wilson, ex of 5 Dudley (loved that place!) and the eponymous Wilson (loved that place too!). All of the sudden the night takes a decidedly (tasty) turn. This is a great chef who is deftly utilizing his skill and acumen in a relaxed, lounge environment perfect for an after work bite with friends.
Check out just some of what is on offer and be sure to head on over to 31Ten.
Ceviche with habanero sauce. Wonderful zing and bright, fresh flavors. A perfect start.
Chorizo and potatoes. The Monster decides he will eat anything put in front of him on this night and so he dives in. The dish is enjoyable but it has been years since he’s had chorizo so there is not much to compare it to.
Grilled and raw asparagus, fennel, button mushrooms, Grana Padana cheese. A wonderfully clean and tasty dish, this is a hit.
Brandade (salt cod) fritters with roasted garlic aioli. Enjoyed the light fritter which pair well with the accompaniment.
Smelt Fries, Sriracha mayo. And herein is the winner. This playful take on French fries using a fried fish is so tasty that to call it bar food is an injustice. Worth the trip in alone.
Wild boar meatballs with creamy, cheesy polenta. Not a Monster fave due to the huge, meaty flavor. But The Monster’s dining companion thought this was the best dish so listen to him.
Seared diver scallop, black truffle fondue. Love scallops and this version is a true delight.
Steak frites with porcini mushroom sauce. By this point The Monster is stuffed so a few bites of the fries and he is ready to slip into bed.
But a plate of warm, wonderful cookies arrives to leave a sweet finish to a surprisingly delightful evening.
Many thanks to Chef Wilson and Joseph Murray for inviting The Monster in! Everyone over at 31Ten is a delight to be around so here’s hoping you’ll check it out.
3110 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405