FRIENDS GREEN WITH ENVY @ ABODE
Your friends will be green with envy as you dine at
the new Abode Restaurant and Lounge in
Santa Monica. Paradoxically located off
across from the busy Santa Monica Pier Boardwalk, Abode is quietly nestled between Ivey at the Shore and Tengu.
As I entered the restaurant off the terra cotta-tiled
courtyard, Abode (Designed by Franklin Studios) seemed to present multiple
dining areas while still capturing the overall sustainable warm theme. I
arrived early for dinner and began the evening in the Lounge area with the
“Elderflower Green Tea Martini”, one of the restaurants many signature
drinks. The drink is made with
organic green tea infused vodka with elderflower liqueur garnished with
edible flowers. Surveying the
main dining space from the Lounge/Bar area, I was immediately drawn to how
the floor to ceiling geometric wood screens divided the restaurant into
three eating areas highlighted by three semi-private crescent-shaped
chocolate toned leather booths softly elevated to the left with the large
patio area to the right. If
you are looking for a high tech polished silver and glass wireless new
money and new
feel, Abode is not the place. The
high-back burnt tangerine leather chairs and thick black walnut tables
accented by the distressed wood planks and rainforest brown and white Calcutta
marble creates a comfortable cozy ambiance for diners.
The contemporary American cuisine at Abode reflects
the French born Executive Chef Dominique Crenn’s culinary chef
and Indonesia. Working under the tutelage of Jeremiah Tower and Mark Franz while at
Stars and more recently at the Manhattan Country Club, her menu captures
the essence of the restaurant’s humble beginnings as the vegetarian
Anastasia’s Asylum. Her 20 years of experience preparing and developing
dishes and menus for over a dozen of restaurants in two continents has
provided Dominique the knowledge of food synchronicity.
I decided to indulge myself with the eight-course prix-fixe tasting
menu which featured off-the-menu dishes paired with various wines.
There is also a three-course prix fixe business lunch and a six
course tasting menu.
I started my evening with the Oyster Bloody Mary Shot
with Horseradish Foam followed by the Chilled Sweet White Corn Chowder
with Mussels, Purple Potato and Pernod Foam.
The Hawaiian Kona Kompachi Tartar served with a Taro Chip and
topped with Shiso Ice Cream accompanied by Masami Farm All Natural
Japanese Wagyu Beef Tartar topped with a Quail Egg was as tasty as
anything made by Alan Wong, Roy Yamaguchi or Sam Choi.
After the Seared Scallop served with Spiced Tomato Chutney, Apple
Purée, Vadouvan Foam and Caramelized Onion, the heavier more filling
taste menu entrees arrived. The Woodland Farms Duck Breast served with
slices of grilled Fitzgerald Farm Peach, Mushroom and Bacon and the Niman
Ranch Lamb served with Greek Yogurt, Peaches and Cherry Tomato was
pleasantly light enough to allow space in my appetite for dessert. The
Study of Chocolate dessert forced me to eat the White Chocolate Hazelnut
Truffle inside the Chocolate “Egg” very slowly as to not “crack”
the chocolate egg.
The fact that restaurant used wood harvested from a
sustainable forest or used more natural lighting via the large glass paned
doors leading to the outdoor patio and eating area or even the fact that
Abode donates all
proceeds to the Heal the Bay Foundation when you order the $300 Tahitian
Black Pearl Martini was secondary to the rich dining experience.
Typically, restaurants on a Tuesday evening are not very busy.
But over the next few hours after arriving, every seat became
occupied with couples, small celebratory groups, business executives and
even some families. Not only
does Abode challenge the myth of being able to develop a tasty
organic-based menu, but I was able to walk away feeling good about doing
my part for our future generations.
1541 Ocean Ave.
Tue-Sat, 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm (until 11:00 pm on Fri & Sat)
Sun, 11:30 am to 3:30 pm
'til Seven: Mon-Fri, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm