From Native restaurant
Chef Nyesha Arrington has returned to Santa Monica with a new Downtown restaurant
Arrington has a Westside pedigree with specific Santa Monica influences.
After graduation from the Culinary School at the Art Institute of California in 2001 she worked for Josiah Citrin at Melisse and opened two restaurants for him.
She struck out on her own to open a well-regarded restaurant in Venice and after leaving her former spot for a brief cross-country tour, Arrington has returned to the beachy community from whence she came to open a new restaurant in Santa Monica in the former Yacht Club location at 620 Santa Monica Blvd.
The new restaurant is in close proximity to the Wednesday Farmers Market and she said her approach deliberately incorporates seasonal produce into her menus, particularly when she can source direct from the farmers.
“For me it’s about connecting, it’s about connecting to the grower and carrying out the legacy,” she said.
“I love being able to get excited about a piece of produce that someone grew and that someone watched it and nurtured it and really that’s who I am, I’m a nurturer, who also happens to take cooking seriously in a professional setting.
She said her approach is about celebrating mother nature and applying some creative technique to the ingredients to elevate them on the plate. It’s a philosophy she adheres to out of a desire to preserve the integrity of the food.
“It’s not the easier choice, it’s actually quite hard to go and source produce, go pick it up an schlep it back to the restaurant,” she said.
“When I can invite my cooks and my team to care about a piece of parsley and trouble themselves to use it from leaf to stem, they understand what’s so important because they’ve interfaced with the people and watched it come to life.”
Opening her new venture at this time of year means Arrington will be busy throughout the holiday season but she still makes time for her own family meals and encourages everyone to enjoy the time with relatives.
“This is a time when we all gather around the table and celebrate traditions,” she said. “Food is everything in the holiday season. It is a place where people, friends and family, come together, everyone’s family looks different.”
Arrington’s recipe celebrates her unique heritage and her Korean grandmother.
Yield: 4q batter
#4.5 Shredded Potato
8 oz Box Rice Flour
5 Whole eggs
1/4 C Korean Chili Flakes
10g Chives [minced]
1C Blend oil
1tsp B Powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/4 C Sesame Oil
4T Fish Sauce
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/4 tsp Ground Pepper
2 tsp Kosher Salt
Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl
Spray pancake molds with pan spray
Fill each mold halfway
Bake in Preheated
Cool on speed rack and unmold