Last month I was invited to spend an incredible summer afternoon eating fresh seafood paired nicely with local farmers market produce at One Pico, Santa Monica. I wasn’t familiar with the restaurant, located in Shutters on the Beach Hotel, but I am glad I made the trip because the view of the ocean made my experience that much more enjoyable. Managing Chef Sven Mede made a visit to our table to speak about his vision at One Pico, and the quality of his locally sourced ingredients, thus continuing the efforts in serving responsibly grown, local and seasonal dishes. Cool Fact: One Pico proudly partners with Tutti Frutti, the organic farm I recently explored – I simply love the interconnectedness of the culinary world.
A basket full of warm La Brea Bakery bread hit our table with sea salt and pepper crusted butter. I limited myself to one slice as I knew we were about to dive into the full experience, but the feeling of warm bread in your hands is just so beautiful. I had full command of the menu – always taking suggests from the server, of course – and without thinking twice, ordered the Heirloom Tomatoes with arugula, goat cheese and black olive crostini straight from the Market Plates. Tomatoes are my everything (especially in summer) and my smile widened when the plate of vibrant red, yellow, and orange babies hit our table. Their flavors were rich and tasted as if I had just picked them in the farm. It felt only right to follow that with the La Quercia Prosciutto with grilled peaches, watercress, hazelnuts and balsamic onions. Prosciutto is one of my true loves and when paired with fruit, the flavor becomes that much more focused and robust. Grilled peaches are a revelation. If you haven’t tried that, please add it to your list of things to do
I appreciate having a fresh salad at lunch, no matter the occasion, and when I spotted octopus on the menu it was all over. It took less than a second to know I had to try the Grilled Spanish Octopus with tomato, cucumber, peppers, olives, feta and oregano. Octopus is one of my favorite things to eat from the sea and I take it very serious – people can really fuck it up, and that is what I like to avoid. Not here though, I must begin my slow clap in praise of this perfectly prepared plate of tentacles – easy to slice with a knife is crucial. Our large plates included the Maine Lobster “BLT” made with avocado, smoked bacon + market greens and the Catch of the Day (salmon) with glazed market carrots, harissa, nectarines, chives, grilled onion. You must know that the lobster BLT tastes just as good as it looks. In fact, I have not stopped thinking since I began writing this piece. I would have loved to hear that conversation “hey guys, what’s more perfect that avocado, bacon and tomato? ADD lobster!” We rounded out lunch with a delicate piece of salmon paired with some of the most flavorful carrots I have ever eaten. Those carrots could stand alone as a dish demanding your respect. The colors!
One Pico, 1 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405