Walking into an empty restaurant is never a good sign, and it was exactly what happened when my partner and I arrived for dinner. At the beginning, I wondered if I had made the wrong choice of eating here, but after having the first dish I was just flabbergasted as to why there weren't more people dining!
We ordered five dishes to share; everything was superb and exquisitely presented:
Rye crisps with dips and radishes - Excellent starter. Who knew radishes could be so tasty??
Kimchi dumplings - Very creative, refreshing taste, and gorgeous presentation. Although I would've liked the kimchi to come through more.
Nori rolls - Simple but deliciously clean tasting.
Tacos - Good but a bit hard to tackle... The shells didn't cut too well and the cabbage ended up falling all over the plate.
Walnut chocolate cake - Highlight of the meal, so good that we literally had to fight for every bite!
Service was nice and friendly, but that could be partly due to the fact that we were the only table there... Yes, it wasn't cheap, but I firmly believe that all good things come with a price. The only reason I rated this place a four instead of a five is because of the setting. Despite the hip and stylish décor, it's got a bit of a food-court feel to it as it is on the top floor of a mall inside a section with a bunch of other eateries, and its open-air design adds to that. Having haute cuisine in a casual environment like this just seemed a little disconcerting to me. That said, I'd happily revisit if I come to Santa Monica again as they have a seasonal menu that changes periodically.Pros: food, presentation, service
Cons: food court-ish location