Food-lovers everywhere, know that superstar Chef Josiah Citrin has won many Michelin stars at his iconic Santa Monica restaurant, Melisse. But one of the best-kept secrets (until now, my Huffington readers) is that visitors can also savor his cuisine at the sophisticated beach-side Oceana Beach Club Hotel (849 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica) in its Tower 8 Restaurant there. Yes, Josiah has taken a fervent, active interest in the food being served at this elegant venue... and which is available to all guests staying at the hotel. The Tower 8 Restaurant is one of the best-kept secrets in the beach town, with its locally-sourced, seasonal cuisine inspired by the California lifestyle and its quintessential coast.
I was privileged to dine there recently and have a chance to discuss this adventure with Josiah, an old friend. I asked him how much time he spends in their kitchen, and he surprised me by saying that he is here several times a week and also supervises the purchase of their produce and artisan ingredients from the nearby Santa Monica Farmer's Market. "As you know, Jay, I'm a Santa Monica resident and an avid surfer. That's what initially got me interested in this delightful beach hotel. This menu of Tower 8 reflects how I like to cook at home," he said. "For example I offer my favorite Ahi Tuna Tartar appetizer ($16), and the popular Paso Prime Grass-fed Burger entrée ($16). Do you remember that the DineLA.com people picked it as one of the 'must try' burgers in Los Angeles. I think of the food at Tower 8 as 'food with a view,' because you have seen the stunning view of the ocean from the restaurant." My recent meal there was the next best thing to actually dining at the posh Melisse, and a lot less expensive. I began with a Tempura of Maitake Mushrooms ($10), went on to the Mac and Cheese ($12) and ended with a Roasted Mary's Chicken ($26).
My dining companion, Victoria King, their PR woman, told me that the Citrin food is served either at Tower 8, poolside or in-room. Guest can also enjoy signature cocktails created by renowned mixologist Pablo Moix, as well as wine pairings by Brian Kalliel, resident sommelier at Citrin's Melisse. Ms King walked me through the lovely hotel and showed me the 1960s beach club designed by the celebrated American designer Anthony Baratta, who seems to have captured a modern-day interpretation of Santa Monica sensibility.The hotel offers 70 suite-style accomodations, a private pool and wellness center, complimentary bicycles for guests and weekly yoga sessions on the beach.
So, perhaps you should do what I will do this weekend... take leave of my Beverly Hills abode and make a weekend reservation at Oceana for a beach holiday (310) 393-0486... and partake of several Citrin meals in this relaxed holiday atmosphere. See you there.
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