1 Pico Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90405
The Event: VALENTINE'S DAY, baby - love is in the air?
Now, I admit that V-Day is amatuer night. Chefs are often forced to cook more palatable favs, as the whole wide world comes up to eat, and not everyone wants risky and innovative. Pooh on them. Still, I think it's far to judge a chef by his tasting menu, regardless of whether it's a holiday.
With such terms - One Pico, you failed.
They had a limited menu, with four courses. The second course was a set item, but the others had at least a few choices. I received the menu early on and got a little giddy - they sounded relatively safe, but yummy. And I could already taste the bubbly.
The space is a stunner, though I muse it is more so in the daylight. It sits right on the beach; with sun shinin' through and those amazing water views, this is a luncheon spot if ever there was one. Dinner equaled darkness, and while it's cozy inside, I just wasn't wowed. Bonus points for the massive fireplace though. Well played.
Service - ABYSMAL. This was the biggest weak spot. We were swarmed on quickly, but our waiter was too rushed, too quick, too everything. Bah. And as the night wore on, things just fell apart. He missed items we ordered. He didn't come back to check on us until the final course (before dessert). We were not taken care of, and the place was only half full when we arrived. Nuts to that too.
The typical over-priced wine listing, but still quite decent in variety.
We opted for the Moet & Chandon Rose - $81.
Raisin/nut bread, french goodies, and seeded flatbread - all quite good, but we received a ton of crumbs and tiny flatbread triangles, which I thought was a bit tacky.
Amuse: SMOKED SALMON
Smoked Salmon with Avocado Potato Salad and American Caviar
- While this tasted interesting, I hated it as an Amuse. Too creamy, too punchy, and way too smokey for something that is simply supposed to wake up my palate and get the show going.
Course One: Me: FANNY BAY OYSTERS
Fanny Bay Oysters with Pickled Melon and Cucumber
- My favorite course of the night; I don't usually go gaga for any extras on my beloved oysters, but I really loved the tart and citrusy twang the pickled darlings added. Very intense, unusual, fresh, and splendid.
Course One: Date: MAINE DIVER SCALLOPS
Maine Diver Scallops with Spring Vegetables, White Corn Sauce, and Puff Pastry
- Although the scallops were enormous and plump, the white corn sucked (and I'm a massive corn freak), the vegetables were bland, and the puff pastry lacked puff and instead provided a bizarre and unsavory crunch. This is a no.
Course Two: Both: RICOTTA CHEESE RAVIOLI
Ricotta Cheese Ravioli with Basil Marinated Squash and Warm Tomato Vinaigrette
- Mercy, this was blands-ville. Nice texture on the uber-soft ravioli, but the tomato vin really lacked any luster, and the squash - blech. Boring and then some.
Course Three: Me:BUTTER POACHED MAINE LOBSTER
Butter Poached Lobster with Black Truffle Risotto, Snap Peas, White Truffle Oil
- This sounded better than it tasted, but I still fell in like. The lobster was a bit tough/chewy, but the risotto was quite sublime - just slightly undercook, which happens to be my fav. The truffles were overpowered by intense cheesiness, yet the balance was beautiful. Great peas too.
Course Three: Date:TRUFFLE ROASTED FILET MIGNON
Truffle Roasted Filet Mignon with Wild Mushrooms and Sweet Potatoes
- The filet was a so-so offering, with no taste of truffles. But the sweet potatoes? ALMOST worth the price of admission! Creamy little buggers, and really flavorful. The mushrooms rocked it too, but not quite as hard.
Course Four (Dessert): Me:CAPPUCINO CHEESECAKE
Cappucino Cheesecake with Kahlua Cream and Peanut Brittle
- Three cheers for sugar overload! This was a decadent little creation, but super coffee-flavored, with an awesome crust. I was lovin' the peanut brittle, too, although it was a simple garnish -- almost an afterthought. Could only manage a couple of bites, but they were decent.
Course Four (Dessert): Date:WHITE CHOCOLATE CHERRY PARFAIT
White Chocolate and Bing Cherry Parfait with Lavender Scented Whipped Creamy
- Another snoozer, this one had no outstanding components; just sugar. My date had two bites and called it quits.
My tip to you - Go for a light lunch and ogle the waves, not your dishes.
Damage for 2 V-Day tasting menus and a $81 bottle of champagne (before tip): just under $300.
Worth it? Hell no. Not in a million years no.
RESTAURANT REPORT CARD - One Pico Visit 1
Ambiance - B+
Service - C-
Food (Taste) - C+
Food (Presentation) - C+
Wine/Drinks - C+
Value - D+
Vibe/Energy/Scene - C-
Overall Experience - C
Parking: Valet (it's at a hotel)
Attire: Business formal
Pros: Awesome view, lovely fireplace
Cons: Icky service, way too pricey, mediocre food
Final word - Never shall ye return again.
Swing on by the homestead.
Read yourself a po-em.