Abode Restaurant in Santa Monica is officially closed as of April 2008. [la.eater.com] No word on what is taking its prime Ocean Avenue space.
No doubt, Abode is a beautiful space in an equally beautiful, albeit somewhat hectic, oceanfont location in Santa Monica. For obvious reasons, I was expecting a rustic décor with lots of wood. However, I was surprised by a modern interior with ornate accents, most notably the light fixtures that hang from high ceilings, cutout wall dividers between spaces, and striking reddish orange chairs with unusually high backs. I wanted to say I liked it, but it actually felt a little stiff to the point of slightly uncomfortable. We sat in the lounge area to have drinks and taste a few plates. The color palette is the same in the lounge, but it feels warmer, perhaps because the space is just smaller.
Abode has a specialty cocktail menu from which an Elderflower tea martini was ordered. I tasted it, noted that it was good, but also fairly expensive. I sipped on my regular cocktail of choice while looking over the food offerings on the menu. Our group negotiated and I only lobbied for the braised shortribs because it came with macaroni and cheese.
With enough food to make a real meal, the server brought bread to the table. Tiny tapered rolls on individual plates were pretty, but a little hard for my taste. I only had a couple of bites before focusing on our order.
A trio of miniature sandwiches was caprese panini, sausage, and croque madame. They were cute, but were unbalanced with too much bread on each. The mussels h
alf of Moules Frites were not bad. They weren’t overcooked to rubbery as is often the case. However, the frites half was surprisingly not good. The French fries looked like they had been scooped from the fryer with the bowl in which they were served, and were that odd size and texture between crisp shoestring and fluffy soft wedge. They needed salt and a second go ’round in the fryer. Normally I am more forgiving when it comes to French fries, for they are French fries after all, but for the fine-dining (in the lounge) price, I was expecting something a little more thoughtfully prepared and presented.
The biggest disappointment were the shortribs and macaroni and cheese, presented in two tiny enamel pots as if they had been cooked in them on a dollhouse stove. Like the Moules Frites, the main event, shortribs, was not outstanding, but good enough. I didn’t care much for what seemed like a slight sweetness, but like I said, it was good enough. The macaroni and cheese, though, was bad enough that I took one bite of the overcooked pasta and runny cheese and opted to make the rest of my meal out of my cocktail.
I wasn’t paying much attention to whether ingredients were truly locally grown, seasonal to Summer, or sustainably prepared. I was, however, paying attention to how everything tasted and whether they were worth Abode’s fairly high prices, which is often inevitable with “eco-friendly” and an oceanfront address. They weren’t worth it for me.
It’s not that I’m not willing to try to be more ecologically aware. I just don’t want to be ecologically aware…at Abode.
1541 Ocean Avenue (between Broadway and Colorado)
Santa Monica, CA 90401
** a year ago today, keira knightley needs to eat something, like uzen sushi **
** two years ago today, when it’s all said and done, you only need beef and bun, and chicken wasn’t just chicken **