As part of a quick trip to LA, I met up with my best friend for dinner at Violet in Santa Monica. Between the two of us, we only had 4 dishes + dessert - probably not enough to judge a place which specializes in small plates. But the experience was interesting enough that I'd definitely go back to see what other dishes are like...
I had the short ribs and spinach and my friend the field greens with the thinnest of thin fried potatoes. Lovely presentation on the salad. When it comes to short ribs, I'm a big fan of the Lucques variety and this may have been slices of the rib meat, but no actual rib bone. So for $13.50 (I think) I don't know that it was a true value.
A table near us ordered one of the specials, a rock shrimp risotto. Sounded interesting, but although I like shrimp, I don't always like rock shrimp (I don't know - I think it's the fact that they're so little and can be on the tougher side).
Dessert was an apple tart/filo number with a nice scoop of cinnamon ice cream - very cinnamony - you could tell the restaurant supply size jar wasn't sitting in storage. We also had a lemon curd tart with candied orange slices - just tart enough to be enjoyable and just sweet enough that your mouth didn't pucker, with a very buttery (in a good way) graham cracker crust.
That said, the ambience of the place is great. Service is attentive without being overbearing and it's nice to have another option on Pico.