New & Newish Restaurants Everyone's Buzzing About
Catch & Release
After parting ways with Superba last summer, chef Jason Neroni emerges with Catch & Release, a bright seafood restaurant and bar in Marina del Rey in the former Paiche location. The sea-to-table menu features an oyster bar, bouillabaisse and paella, as well as Neroni's famous pastas—a tagliatelle with Dungeness crab, and spaghetti “sea urchin carbonara." He also mixes in comfort foods like fried clam strips and lobster rolls reminiscent of his childhood summers in Portland, Main. Neroni is a busy man these days. Next up: The Rose in Venice, due to open this summer.
Catch & Release // 13488 Maxella Ave., Marina del Rey 90292
(Photo credit: Pascal Shirley for Catch & Release)
A name that means beyond the sea, close to the coast but far enough away to remain mysterious. Hinterland brings the latest seafood-leaning restaurant to Main Street in the former space occupied many years by Joe's. Exposed brick, soft lighting and a full-length bar make this cozy spot a great place to meet up for oysters and wine.
Hinterland // 2917 Main St., Santa Monica 90405
If you're a fan of Andrew Kirschner's Tar & Roses, plan a night at his second restaurant SMYC (as in Santa Monica Yacht Club) in the former La Botte space just a few blocks down Santa Monica Blvd. The sophisticated seafood menu starts with raw dishes like oysters and swordfish carpaccio and gets creative with classics like the lobster toast with garlic aioli, dried roe and chives. Walter el Nagar is chef de cuisine, and if his various Barbershop Ristorante pop-ups throughout Venice are any indication, this duo will deliver big on the wow factor.
SMYC // 620 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica 90401
L.A. welcomed Belcampo wholeheartedly when the Bay Area's pasture-raised meat purveyors opened a butchery with burgers and sandwiches to go in Downtown's Grand Central Market. A few weeks ago, Belcampo expanded to the Westside and debuted its So Cal flagship in Santa Monica with another butchery and a full-service, 86-seat restaurant. The menu features rustic, meaty, California cuisine and farm-fresh cocktails from Josh Goldman.
Belcampo // 1026 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90401
Ox & Son
Seasonally inspired comfort food brings bold Southern flavors to Montana Ave. refined by chef Brad Miller. (Ox is his dad's nickname.) There's ham and griddle cakes, sticky pig cheeks and black rice, and the must-try chicken fried duck confit over a bed of house kimchi slaw and chili sauce. Brunch service is coming soon.
Ox & Son // 1534 Montana Ave., Santa Monica 90403
Snack Time @ Superba Snack Bar
One of the best new happy hour deals in town, Superba Snack Bar is making it much easier to try all the dishes on its seasonal menu that constantly switches it up. Now you can order small plates half-off Monday through Friday, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Superba Snack Bar // 533 Rose Ave., Venice 90291
After a couple months of teasing with a limited happy hour menu, the Cali-Mex smokehouse is now serving a full gamut of barbecued meats and veggies, street tacos, and a great grilled burger that ditches brioche for a squishy soft roll. Everything pairs well with a spicy michelada but there's a nice wine selection too.
Clutch // 427 Lincoln Blvd., Venice 90291
Tropical Vibes @ A-Frame
Tropical drinks with lilikoi and Hawaiian favorites like loco moco help slow down the time at Roy Choi's revamped A-Frame. An island-style makeover introduces a menu with poke samplers, huli huli chicken and housemade spam musubi. Beer can chicken, a popular dish from the old menu, makes a cameo appearance during luau hour, and the ribs are still here too. At brunch you can eat like you're on vacation with stacks on stacks of endless macadamia nut pancakes.
A-Frame // 12565 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90066
One of several Main Street newcomers (located between Ashland Ave. and Hill St.) this neighborhood hot spot delivers on beachside living at its best; a big open patio, craft beer and wine on draft, and approachable not-boring plates with big flavor. Try the curried deviled eggs, shishito mac 'n' cheese, and the super melty AH Burger with bacon jam and a side of Parmesan fries.
Ashland Hill // 2807 Main St., Santa Monica 90405
Sunset Ave.'s bakery gets as much love for its smoked fish bialys as its pie and baklava croissants, not that one should have to choose. Though limited seating makes it tough to juggle multiple dishes along with your cortado, the place is still packed most mornings and throughout the weekend. Plans are in the works to open up a backyard patio, and a liquor license may be on the horizon too.
Gjusta // 320 Sunset Ave., Venice 90291
Coming Soon: Plant Food And Wine
Matthew Kenney is bringing health-conscious cuisine to Abbot Kinney with Plant Food and Wine. Taking over the former Axe space, the 70-seat restaurant will feature a full menu of plant-based entrees and the wine list will focus on organic and biodynamic vineyards.