Violet

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Promiscuous Dining at Violet

If you are not looking to commit to just one entree but instead you want to dabble in a few dishes, you should head to Violet in Santa Monica for what Chef/Owner Jared Simons likes to call “promiscuous dining.” At Violet, you can choose from a sizable menu of small plate selections where there is most definitely something to satisfy your every craving. Upon entering Violet, where the artwork and walls are - what else - violet, you are greeted by an amiable staff and tended to by a knowledgeable server who lets you create your own casual dining experience. To share or not to share, that is the only question.

Violet’s medium-sized dining room is outlined with inviting banquette seating and there is a cozy bar in the back. Both areas are perfect locations to peruse the substantial wine list, on which many selections are available by the glass or in flights. Artisan beers are also available. Once seated, warm sourdough is served on a sheet of parchment paper and this sets the tone for the whole experience. Not fussy, Violet is all about the food. This makes a good vibe for a weekday get together or a date, or even a meal for one.

Violet’s menu lists several popular options, but one of the most noteworthy is the grilled Caesar salad with curried croutons and spicy dressing. It features a whole heart of romaine wilted perfectly on a smoky grill, but crispy and cool in the middle. This is a whole new way to experience salad and it whets my appetite for the next small plate. Without delay, a delicate presentation of seared scallops arrives at the table. The scallops are accompanied by a fragrant vanilla bean risotto and thin slices of sautéed baby zucchini. A tiny bunch of micro parsley sits atop the scallops and brings all the flavors and textures of the dish together.

Venison meatballs, the evening’s special feature, are served with creamy celery root puree and a liberal drizzle of port wine reduction. Chef Simon uses herbs and spices like a signature on each dish, and here it is a sprinkling of fresh thyme. Our server intuitively pairs a Rutherford Cabernet from Napa with the meatballs, and it is a great match for this course. Its fruitiness, in the form of blackberry and cherry, complement the meat and thyme nicely.

In a continuation of decadence, a bubbling little crock of Violet’s signature mac & cheese is presented to us. I must say, it is an exciting moment. This mac & cheese achieves the perfect proportion of crunchy, baked gruyere and hot, al dente elbow pasta. A pleasant surprise in this dish is the serrano ham and leeks. The cured ham provides the perfect amount of saltiness and the leeks are slightly sweet. Once you eat this, you will want it again.

Feeling very satisfied so far, we start thinking about dessert. As an interlude, our server brings over a glass of Wynns Coonawarra Shiraz from Australia. The strong notes of citrus and black pepper pair almost magically with the flourless chocolate cake and white chocolate gelato that we order. We also have the warm apple tart with caramel sauce and cinnamon gelato. Both are well-done interpretations of classic desserts and a fine finish to the Violet experience. Put simply, just as Chef Simon would prefer, Violet is a keeper.

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Restaurant Info

  • Address: 3221 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica CA 90405
  • Cross Street: 32nd
  • Location: Beverly Hills & Westside | Santa Monica
  • Cuisine: American | Seafood | California | Desserts | Pasta |
  • Cost: $$$ | Moderate | $50 - $75
  • Category: Fine Dining
  • Star Rating:
  • Reservations: Unknown
  • Dress Code: Casual Elegant
  • Meals Served: Lunch | Dinner |
  • Parking: Street | Valet Parking |
  • Payment Options: VISA | Amex | MasterCard | Discover |
  • Corkage Fee: 12.00 | Per Bottle
  • Staff: Jared Simons | Sommelier
    Jared Simons | MaƮtre D'
    Jared Simons | Owner
    Jared Simons | Executive Chef
  • Phone: 310-453-9113

Business Hours

Monday
Tuesday
Main Dining Room | Lunch 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Dinner 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Wednesday
Main Dining Room | Lunch 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Dinner 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Thursday
Main Dining Room | Lunch 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Dinner 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Friday
Main Dining Room | Lunch 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Dinner 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Saturday
Main Dining Room | Dinner 5:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Sunday
Main Dining Room | Dinner 5:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Features

  • Full Bar
  • Famous Chef
  • Prix Fixe Menu
  • Wheelchair Access
  • Valet Parking
  • Personal Wines Allowed
  • Lounge / Bar

Occasion

  • Romantic Dining
  • Dining Alone
  • Meet for a Drink
  • Quiet Conversation
  • Special Occasion
  • Trendy / Hip
  • Celebrity Spotting

 


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Restaurant Address: 3221 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica CA 90405

User Reviews

New Found Fav.  

After much research through this site, I deceided that Violet would be the perfect restaurant to have a wonderful Valentines dinner with my wonderfull girlfriend. I made the right choice, from the moment you walked in, it was like something out of a dream. With the soft violet colors and the flickering candel light, intimate seating, the zen like floral decor and the staff all in black moving around like shadows amoungst the art. Very polite, and very curtious, any question was answerd, and all expectations were met and surpassed. If you payed attention to this site, you would realize just the price range that you were getting into, but with the amazing quality of food and simple and clean presentation, it is all worth it. You get your moneys worth. The food is top notch and some of the best around. It will keep you coming back for more and more. (I know we will). You'll want to try everthing on the menu. And with Chef Simons frequent changing of the menu, adding new and re-vamping the old, you'll never dull your senses. It will keep you talking about it and telling your friends for days after.

Spectacular  

My daughter and I had dinner at Violet this evening. Our first time there. The food was fabulous, mouth-watering, delicious. The portions are small but we were full when we left. We had the beef ribs, steak, macaroni and cheese and marinated olives. For dessert we had the mouth-watering flourless chocolate cake and raspberry sorbet. To end it all...we were served a tiny glass of milk and a yummy chocolate chip cookie. It was so cute. We both totally recommend this place if you want to savor and enjoy delicious food.

mixed  

The food was undeniably very good, each and every dish. However, the prices are much higher than suggested by the classification on this site ($100 for 2 and the big guy ate pizza when we got home). The ambiance is weird-elegant lighting, and nice aesthetics, good service, waiters in t-shirts who are too cool to enunciate, very casual clientele but rather non-casual prices. Finally, the small plate-thing wasnt very satisfying. Even though the food was good, we won't be back.

Dissapointing  

I showed up with my girlfriend and our parents on a Sunday evening, party of 5. There was a table there, in the front, in plain view, with 5 chairs. The host said that our table would be ready in 5 minutes, we gladly accepted to wait. 30 minutes later, I inquired. The open table remained empty, unused, and available, and the party they were waiting for to finish and leave, were still chatting at the table. Upon inquiring how much longer it would be, the host snapped at me telling me that I should have made a reservation. He then also pointed out that the normal menu was not available. I asked why that was so. He said that they were doing a special wine and food sampling menu, that they had been doing it for 9 weeks, and that it was my fault for not being informed. He suggested that if I didn't want to eat the food they had that my party and I could leave. His rudeness was not only shocking, but uncalled for. I maintained calm communication with him, and asked questions because I sincerely wanted to know what the food setup was. I was even going to stay and pay $25 per person for a snack menu, just to give them a chance. The needle that broke the camel's back was when the host and his assistant snapped and said that I should have made a reservation if I wanted to eat at a nice restaurant. That's when it became apparent: they were actually being cocky about their restaurant being too nice for my family. Was it because we were a party of 5? Was it because my parents were with me? Was it because we are a hispanic group? Honestly, I don't want to know. I just know that the level of rudeness was astonishing, uncalled for, and unacceptable, for anyone. That's when I made the decision for us to leave. I will never return. I am aware that the price of a meal at a nice restaurant includes the cost of enjoying the pleasant atmosphere. I would not willingly pay to sit in the atmosphere created by the employees of Violet. It was a horrible experience.