I enjoyed a wonderful dining experience the other night at Shutters in Santa Monica. One Pico is the name of the hotel’s restaurant located right on the beach with ocean views from every window. First of all, Shutters is an amazing place. The whole thing just works so well. But the predominant feeling is of Nantucket or Cape Cod right on the beach. Since I am from the East Coast, I immediately feel at home when walking into the lobby, the place is just gorgeous and I have been there for a number of functions and events and each time am struck by the same feeling of comfort and ease.
Recently renovated, One Pico is located right next to the lobby and as you enter there is a long bar that leads into the lovely dining room.
I invited a friend and we were seated next to the window, which was a treat as the sun was setting.
The service was gracious and attentive and the small details such as room temperature butter for your bread and sea salt served in a tiny dish were not only noticed, but greatly appreciated.
There is a prix fixe menu offered that is quite a deal — $34 for a three course meal that includes choices such as fava bean salad, yellow fin tuna and filet mignon. We both ordered off that menu as well as a salad from the dining menu that I couldn’t resist; shellfish and avocado that was served with meaty chunks of lobster, perfectly cooked shrimp and plump mussels over a bed of baby arugula. This was a perfect salad and for me that is saying something.
The dressing was just right, the ideal amount of seafood and the balance of flavors between the lobster and avocado was sublime. I will definitely order this again on a return trip.
For my first course I enjoyed a generous serving of creamy burrata with cured ham, basil and a scattering of homemade garlic crumbs. My friend had a lovely salad of fava beans, shaved artichokes and pecorino cheese. Both appetizers were executed beautifully.
For the entrée we had filet mignon with roasted asparagus and spring onions and seared tuna with salsa verde and crisp sautéed vegetables.
Once again the food was perfect, cooked just the right amount, seasoned well, and each bite was better than the last. I must say I could have licked my plate it was that good. The meal was served appetizingly presented on white plates by efficient, professional waiters.
We ended with a cheesecake served with fresh blueberries and blueberry sorbet that was also excellent.
I highly recommend One Pico, chef Michael Reardon deserves all the accolades he has received for his attention to detail, simplicity of preparation and ability to combine flavors with such perfect results. I will definitely be back for another terrific meal at this lovely spot in Santa Monica.
Amanda Cushman is a culinary educator who has cooked professionally for 25 years. She teaches privately for groups of two to 20 students. She has developed hundreds of recipes for cookbooks as well as food magazines and Web sites. She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.