Wilshire – Santa Monica

Friday night driving in Los Angeles is a nightmare. It can take one hour just to go from the Westside to Beverly Hills. So our problem was to stay west off the 405 freeway and find a restaurant that had an extensive menu of wood grilled prime steaks. (One person in our party only eats steaks.) I hadn’t been to Wilshire since Andrew Kirschner had become executive chef, but a number of people suggested that I should try it. What an inspired choice and definitely a restaurant that will be on our “go to” list.

The entire staff was tremendous. Kirk, the sommelier couldn’t have been more accommodating. Nick, the GM, remembered us from Spago. Brian, our server was terrific  – he grew up in Kansas, drove tractors at the age of 11 on his dad’s farm and has a passion for food. Chef Kirschner  came out introduced himself and told us some of his favorite menu items. How much more can one ask for?

Executive chef – Andrew Kirschner

BYO White Wine

A gift from the chef – Kumamoto Oysters Dynamite, the oysters were encrusted in panko crumbs and deep fried. They sat on a seaweed “salad” and were topped by wasabi tobiko.  What impressed me was not only the depth of flavor, but the intensity of the flavor profile that was decidedly Asian.

Steak tartar, quail egg, grilled sourdough – an excellent version.

Grilled sepia, njuda sausage, baby brocolli, lemon, almonds. Njuda sausage is a special type of dried sausage made with black pepper, hot pepper, salt and fennel seeds, typical of Calabrian cuisine from southern Italy – again the depth of flavor was superb – delicious.

Another gift from the chef – we were sharing everything so this was a passing marathon. Red Curry Coconut Mussels, Grilled Bread. I felt as if I were on a trip around the world and what a trip!

The broth was exceptional with the lemongrass adding just the right touch.

Another gift – this was getting better than Christmas. Green garlic and potato soup, black truffle and asparagus – you would think we were regulars – we weren’t, but we have every intention of becoming regulars.

Caesar Salad, Romaine leaves white anchovies, lemon croutons, parmesan

BYO Red Wine

Dry Aged New York Steak with grilled garlic, greens topped with parmesan – a safe entree well-executed with THE extra of shaved black truffles

Mashed potato, yukon golds

Duck breast, farro, stinging nettles, hazelnuts, blood orange gastric – the sauce had just been changed for tonight’s service. That is one of the hallmark’s of chef Kirschner’s cuisine – use what is fresh and organic from the local farmers.

Morrocan Spiced lamb Stew, quinoa, banana raita, pequillo pepper harissa – I didn’t taste this but there wasn’t a drop left.

Photo through the wine glass

Condiments for the lamb stew

More gifts!!!!

Apple Fritters, caramel sauce, cinnamon ice cream

Orange Creme Caramel, creme fraiche whipped cream

Cookies to go – not pictured

Wilshire was a complete surprise and I can’t believe that a restaurant of this caliber is so close to our house. We will be back often.

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8 Responses to “Wilshire – Santa Monica”


  1. 1 mattatouille February 27, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    I have heard good things, but this is a very helpful and comprehensive review. Sometimes we Eastsiders think that there aren’t any good restaurants on the Westside. This is Exhibit A showing that there definitely are! I do wonder about the value proposition though.

  2. 2 twoguyswithanappetite February 27, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Well . . . . what I really want to know is HOW WAS THE STOLPMAN? As far as Santa Ynez producers, we were not impressed with Stolpman. Yes, it was good — but not great. Did you or John have a different experience with this wine? If you say “this was a good value for thirty bucks,” then yes, I agree. But for the same money, I think Foxen or Beckman are superior. What you say? We adore Foxen the best for Pinot out of all the producers in the area. Number Two is Beckman.

  3. 3 samk February 28, 2010 at 2:13 am

    Great read, it’s been on my to-do list for quite some time. And if you’re referring to the Calabrian sausage, it’s nduja.

  4. 4 lizziee February 28, 2010 at 3:57 am

    It was written on the menu as njuda.

    “la njudà, a special type of dried sausage made with black pepper, hot pepper, salt and fennel seeds.”

    http://www.villaggioilgabbiano.com/calabriacucina_en.asp

  5. 5 lizziee February 28, 2010 at 8:39 am

    John says:
    The Stolpman was a ’99…it had aged very nicely. The Syrah lost some of its bite and rounded out more like a Burgundy than a Syrah. We have not had many bottles from Stolpman so I can’t judge it comparatively year to year, but it was certainly acceptable and enjoyable. I agree, Foxen is quite good. Please note we were not drinking Pinot–Syrah!

  6. 6 David Haskell February 28, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    looks like decent food.

  7. 8 samk March 1, 2010 at 1:07 am

    apologies! After doing some research I found both spellings used, although nduja was used a little more frequently (ie NYT, wikipedia). Jonathan Gold uses both nduja and njuda in two separate articles and Boccalone has used both as well.


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