Andrew Kirschner, former executive chef of Wilshire, says he is a few weeks away from opening Tar & Roses, his Santa Monica restaurant in the works since early this year. The projected opening date is Dec. 1 "if all goes well," he says.
The 2,000-square-foot restaurant on Santa Monica Boulevard will seat 75 (50 inside and 25 on the patio) in a space that Kirschner describes as a "juxtaposition that reflects the food -- a rustic elegance." Design elements include Carrara marble, reclaimed wood, concrete floors and a few different types of chairs, "from barnyard-y to modern." "No designer, I designed it all myself, with my sous chef Jacob Wildman heavily involved," Kirschner says.
The restaurant also will feature a bruschetta bar, an open bar area that will provide daily bruschetta from the wood-burning oven. "The soul of the restaurant is the wood-burning oven," Kirschner says.
The food is a reflection of Kirschner's travels throughout Italy, Spain and Southeast Asia. "I don't want to be categorized -- it comes from my love for straightforward and slightly adventurous cuisine. Its calling card is rusticity and robust flavors, I'm very focused on textures as well."
The menu has four categories: snacks, small plates, vegetables and large plates. Snacks include skewered chicken "oysters" with tamarind dipping sauce and bone marrow with pickled onion marmalade. Small plates include garlic soup with sourdough croutons, paprika and poached egg, and Meyer lemon ricotta gnocchi with charred broccoli. Under vegetables are chanterelle stuffing with chestnuts, currants and sage, and wood-roasted cabbage with caraway, fennel and horseradish. Large dishes include crispy pork knuckle (from the shank) with creamy farro and pickled salad, and hanger steak with wood-roasted duck fat potatoes and romesco. Kirschner also is making desserts himself.
Chris Keller, the winemaker behind Emanuel Tres Wines, has created the wine list.
602 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, www.tarandroses.com.
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Photo: Andrew Kirschner. Credit: James and James Productions