Yesterday the weather was so warm and beautiful that Sam and I traveled to the far-off land of Santa Monica in search of an ocean breeze. The pier was packed with tourists (as usual), but it’s always nice to be ocean-adjacent. By the time we got down to finding a restaurant for dinner, all the trendy fish places were packed (and likely overpriced). So we referred to Sam’s handy iPhone Yelp app and discovered Blue Stove.
Blue Stove is actually IN a Nordstrom department store, at the recently renovated Santa Monica Place (the mall at the end of the 3rd Street Promenade). Santa Monica Place used to be your typical dumpy-ish ’80s-looking mall, but it recently got a major upgrade and now has an LA Live/Hollywood & Highland/Anaheim GardenWalk feel. (With a twist of Las Vegas.)
In case you non-residents are wondering: Yes, everything in Southern California is a mall. If you ever visit here, you will surely end up going to one of the following: The Grove, The Americana, Fashion Island, South Coast Plaza… and/or any of the others listed above. (Especially Hollywood & Highland… which is probably my least favorite. Uncomfortably crowded.)
Anyway. Sam was quite amused that the restaurant was affiliated with Nordstrom. I’ve been to Nordstrom Cafes before (actually last weekend… my family’s into it), but didn’t know that some Nordstrom locations have more sit-down style restaurants. Blue Stove is a small-plate, “tapas-style” restaurant. Luckily Sam and I tend to be compatible food-sharers, so we ordered the following…
Seared Wild Mushrooms with Grilled Asparagus and Lemon Zest:
It was basically perfect. If you like any of those ingredients, you’ll love it. I was worried that the zest would be strong, but it was delicate and perfect and didn’t feel like I was eating pieces of a lemon rind. (But I love lemon now, so whatever.)
Lemon Scented Risotto with Seared Scallops and French Beans:
Sam made an “I’ve-died-and-gone-to-heaven” look when he bit into his scallop. They were so flat, I wondered if they’d sliced a huge scallop into thinner sections for searing. Whatever they did worked, because the scallops were well-cooked, delicate, and didn’t have a bit of grit in them.
I didn’t think the risotto smelled like lemon, but I forgive them. And the French beans weren’t as good as the asparagus had been, but they weren’t exactly the star of the plate. They had a kinda char/grill flavor to them. (Random aside: If you want amazing green beans, I recommend the ones that come with the chicken teriyaki at Katsu-Ya.) (I don’t see them on the menu, so they’re probably magic.)
Crisp & Spicy Dark Cherry Glazed Beef (see top picture):
I’m glad we ate the beef last, because it was spicy enough that it might have killed my taste buds for the more delicate scallop dish. It tasted like something you might get at a Chinese restaurant. I wasn’t really sure I tasted cherry (the most intriguing aspect of the dish), but that might have been for the best. Don’t want Jolly Rancher-flavored beef.
And for dessert… Macintosh Apple Cobbler with Cinnamon Ice Cream.
I didn’t realize that the cobbler was in a little creme brulee dish thing (ramekin?), and at first I tried to break into it with my spoon. Smooth.
Also… am I imagining that our dessert looked like a penis? And… also looked like Mickey Mouse? (I think that makes it a crime.)
I had a very good time, and I’d go back. Of course, I only go to Santa Monica every so often and it has a million restaurants– so I should probably try a few others before I go back to Blue Stove. Probably.
Where do you like to eat in Santa Monica? Do you know of any other restaurants (anywhere) that are located in unexpected places?