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FAYE LEVY Review Upper West West

Culinary potpourri at Upper West in Santa Monica

 

Yakir and I had a lovely dinner with friends at Upper West  The dimly lit restaurant was full, with a lively party going on in the patio section.
Chef Nick Shipp told us that the restaurant is a neighborhood place and that quite a
few of the customers are regulars. Much of the produce used at the restaurant, he said, is from the nearby Santa Monica Farmers Market.
When we told him that we like the colorful paintings on the walls, he told us that they are by local artists and they are for sale; the
selection changes from time to time.
On the menu we noticed dishes with Middle Eastern flavorings like tahini, sumac and preserved lemon, American favorites like mac & cheese, bread pudding, and key
lime pie, and dishes with East Asian and Mexican flavors. “Our style has
been described as culinary potpourri,” said Chef Nick.
We enjoyed eating a variety of dishes–some traditional and some creative,
and our menu had plenty of vegetables, herbs, and fruits. We look forward
to going back.

Our menu:

* Sweet corn soup sprinkled with ground sumac and served with a falafel-like veggie fritter made of black beans

* Hawaiian hamachi crudo- The hamachi, a Japanese fish, was served with roe and a sauce of olive oil, yuzu juice, and mustard. On the plate, there was a smear of tasty chipotle-carrot mousseline made of carrots reduced with orange juice to which chipotle and butter were added. The hamachi was topped with melon slices, red pepper slices, basil leaves

and corn nuts; the corn nuts were a Texan touch, said Chef Nick, who is
from Fort Worth.
* Roasted cauliflower head with tahini sauce, pickled raisins, preserved lemon, and sumac – a favorite of ours that I’d
like to make at home
* Crispy whole branzino (Mediterranean sea bass) – The fish was served on a bed of lima bean succotash with corn
and tomato, a sauce of yellow pepper-saffron vinaigrette, and a topping
of mango gremolata, which was a mixture of diced mango, dill, and parsley
* Braised lamb crepes – filled with lamb, spinach and Madras curry, sprinkled with Israeli feta, and served with raisins and lavender demiglace sauce, which had a good taste of lavender
* Chargrilled avocado with toasted pine nuts, hoja santa (a Mexican herb), goat
cheese, nectarine and Sungold tomatoes, served with toasted sourdough
bread
* Chicken tawook – a Lebanese style dish of chicken thighs from Pittman Farms marinated with tomato and yogurt and grilled, accompanied by chickpeas with spinach, dried apricots, green pico de
Gallo, labneh, and pita bread
* Key lime tart – Filled with blueberry jam, topped with lavender whipped cream and served with coconut-basil sorbet
* Brioche bread pudding – served with rye whiskey caramel, creme anglaise and fresh berries
* Carrot cake ice cream sandwich – Butterscotch carrot cake filled with cream cheese ice cream
* Chocolate mousse crunch cake served with peanut butter ice cream, roasted marshmallow, and strawberry puree
* Malbec (a red wine) from a 60-year old vineyard in Argentina – Donaire Reserva Malbec 2017 Mendoza
Photos by Yakir Levy Pittman Family