Friday, April 10, 2015

AESTUS (SANTA MONICA, CA)

Aestus
507 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
www.aestusrestaurant.com
Tel: 424.268.4433
$$$ ($30-$45)
Sat, 03/28/2015, 8:30pm reservation
    (4 Piglets)




Just a few blocks from the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica sits a new restaurant that recently opened its doors in January of this year. Aestus is headed by Alex Ageneau who had stints at the Royce and Patina. The restaurant itself is in an awkward location, just beneath what seems to be an apartment building.


Aestus is stylish and airy, with dim lights and a warm d├ęcor. Quirky art pieces give depth to the restaurant. The open kitchen is the main accent to the overall ambiance. The concept for the menu is farm-to-table, taking ingredients from the local farmers market. Utilizing these seasonal ingredients, Ageneau creates simple dishes to highlight its freshness.


The interior


BRANDY ALEXANDER ($14.00): Cognac, creme de cacao, whipped honey cream, nutmeg. If you wanted a nightcap, this is the perfect drink. With a creamy topping from the honey cream, the drink is sweet and goes down smooth. It creates warm goodness in my tummy and I loved it. 
MY FAVORITE DISH. FARROTTO ($15.00): Fava bean, shitake, poached egg. This was a beautiful dish. The ruptured egg coated the farrotto well, giving it a creamy texture. The seasoning was spot on and everything about this dish tasted fresh. I just wish it was a little hotter in temperature as it came out lukewarm.
ROASTED CARROTS ($13.00): Kumquats, goat cheese, argan oil. First off, the cheese: it was so light and airy, providing a delicacy to the dish. The carrots were nicely roasted, although I wasn't a big fan of the fresh pickled carrot shavings. The kumquats were a bit bitter. The dish was seasoned with what I believe was cumin and/or tumeric, giving an Indian undertone to the dish. 
SQUID INK CAPELLINI ($24.00): Red crab, pomodoro, basil. The capellini was cooked al dente and the crab was tender. The dish was good overall but not amazing. 
MUSHROOMS ($8.00 SIDE): "persillade". Simple dish where mushrooms are sauteed in butter with salt and pepper. Although it was good, it was my least favorite dish. 
LEMON YOGURT PARFAIT ($8.00): This was a really delicious dessert. The parfait was stacked upon a graham cracker crust. A layer of gelatin sits on top of the parfait giving it a zesty, tangy substance. The raspberry sauce mixed with the granola was perfect. It was an ideal dessert to cleanse the palate and end the meal. 


Overall, Aestus delivers pretty good food (although some of the dishes did not give me the "wow" factor). The service was fantastic and dishes were timed perfectly. I appreciate when dishes are changed regularly and this place caters to that practice. For being a fairly new restaurant, Ageneau and the Aestus staff should be proud. Watch out Tar and Roses, a new restaurant is in town! Word of advice: pay attention to the location when looking for the restaurant because it can be easily missed by uber (I should know)! 

Notable dishes: Farrotto and Lemon Yogurt Parfait

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