Santa Monica is incredible for a variety of reasons. Not only does Santa Monica have great beaches and shopping, but it also has great food. I have always been a fan of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants, Spago in particular, so when my friend told me that one of her favorite restaurants was Chinois, a Wolfgang Puck American-Asian fusion restaurant, I made it my top food priority.
Chinois is a small restaurant that blends in with its surroundings, so if you’re distracted by what’s around you, you might miss it! My friends and I sat at the counter to watch the chefs work their magic – I highly recommend it because not only is it entertaining, but you can watch how your food is made. We saw lobsters cracked, salads chopped, fish dunked in boiling water, and ice cream scooped. At one point, one of the chefs started a big fire on the pan which was exciting to see from 7 feet away.
Because the restaurant is fusion, the taste of the main meals were different from anything I have ever tried before. First of all, the crispy spinach melts in your mouth, the lobster is covered in a smooth curry sauce, and rice is piled underneath it all for a seriously mouth-watering bite. The duck tasted like it was covered in a high quality rib sauce and the steamed bao was thick and soft. I can’t even talk about the chocolate lava cake without my mouth watering because it was the perfect combination of warm chocolate with a moist cake texture. Top off the meal with green tea, and call it a (very full, but satisfied) night! Next time I would love to try the grilled lamb chops with cilantro vinaigrette warm potato salad and the seared Maine scallops with Pad Thai noodles and lemon grass. As I looked around me when I was dining, every single plate that came from the kitchen looked absolutely delicious.
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Setting: Small, intimate restaurant with Asian fusion offbeat decorations
Good for: Dinner with family and friends, date night
What to order: Roasted Cantonese duck with fresh plum sauce and steamed bao, Shanghai lobster with curry sauce and crispy spinach, and chocolate lava cake
Downsides: Pricing can be high
Recommend: Sharing dishes – the 3 of us ordered 2 main meals and 1 appetizer and finished everything; Sitting at the counter and watching the chefs make your meal!