hey all, went to violet in santa monica for the first time...thought i'd share about the food, which i loved (except the soup - LOL!) there are pix on the link, but unfortunately they're not very good.
CREAM OF ONION SOUP: smooth, milky white in a wide shallow bowl and speckled with perfectly snipped chives. clean and simple, but i didn't love it.
CRISPY GOAT CHEESE WONTONS: just a few months before, I thought I was culinary genius when I made goat cheese, prosciutto, and dried fig wontons with garlic-sherry vinegar dipping sauce. I guess Im not as inventive as I thought, LOL! plump, a bit of over oiliness, not quite tanned to crisp, and somewhat disheveled in appearance with edges that werent sealed shut all the way with the egg wash. needs a little more time to polish.
SAUTEED SPINACH: wasnt outstanding. Pine nuts were an interesting addition, but didnt really rescue the overall dish from being somewhat bland, except for a faint bitterness in the greens themselves. Nothing a dash of salt cant fix!
BRAISED SHORTRIBS: two boneless shortribs, each about the size of a very small tangerine, nestled in a mound of creamy..Omigod, I cant believe I cant remember what it was! I am certain they were potatoes, but had the Iron Horse pinot noir already trampled me that much? perfectly tender crisp asparagus laid quite suggestively between the ribs *naughty* and a garnish of fresh thyme.
incredibly tender, with meat falling apart into supple tendrils of beef and fat right there atop the creamy...nooo! I still cant remember what it was! Subtle flavors in the pool of sauce in the bottom of the bowl and soaking into the pillows propping up the beef. Since there was thyme on top, I am guessing it was thyme in the braising liquid that made me want to do the unthinkable in Tiffanys Table Manners lick the bowl. Instead, I tore off a piece of bread and sopped up the sauce. Not completely refined on my part, but that is what what one must do when its absofockinglutely delicious.
DUCK BREAST: we ordered duck. I dont like duck. But, maybe tonight would be the night that Violet would convert me? four medium slices of duck breast fanned out in perfect spacing over a small collection of what look like flattened golden golfballs. I tried these first. Soft yet still dense enough to require a bite, they were gnocchi. Lounging there in sauce that looked similar to the nectar in the bottom of the bowl of shortribs, and under the gentle weight of the duck on top, they had just ever so slightly soaked up flavor. I could have eaten them all, but I didnt. I may be a first-born, but I know how to share.
The duck breast was still there, and I couldnt really ignore it any longer. They looked scary to me, even though I could have mistaken them for petite cuts of beef or pork. I think I had it in my head that duck is a bird. Birds are white. Such dark, and rare, meat for a bird is scary. Im such a damn baby. Eat the duck, dammit!
So I took a cautious bite from the edge that looked the most cooked and least fatty. It wasnt bad, though I couldnt taste duck. Maybe that was good. Maybe that was bad. It was most certainly tender, and I ate the whole slice, and that was that. I hadn't been converted. ;)
LEMON TART: a shimmering golden mass of silky smooth filling with the perfect balance of sweetness and lemony sass, barely held in place by just a paper-thin pastry crust, not quite crumbly shortbread, but not quite flaky pie crust either. I ate every last bite of the half that was left for me. Maybe it was delicious, or maybe I was trying so hard to focus on the tart because I was still breathless from a chef interlude (details shan't be posted here - LOL!).
OVERALL: comfortable, totally unpretentious, just really good food. ill definitely be back to Violet.
3221 Pico Boulevard (between 32nd Street and Centinela)
Santa Monica, CA 90405