Well today's the day they are opening their doors!!
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(LOS ANGELES; )—Saint Martha opens today in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, bringing a new and novel dining destination to the already rich culinary neighborhood. Named for the patron saint of cooks and servants, Saint Martha comes from the team behind the iconic Farmer’s Daughter Hotel and TART restaurant, including Executive Chef and Partner Nick Erven, General Manager andSommelier Mary Thompson, and Partners Jim Hustead, and Ellen and Peter Picataggio. Opening in the modest setting of a neighborhood strip mall, the restaurant sits two blocks from the historic Wiltern Theater and just steps from the Wilshire/Western metro station, enjoying a central location within this burgeoning Los Angeles area. The beverage program—boasting over 50 wines all available by the taste, glass, bottle, or piché—focuses exclusively on underappreciated regions and more obscure offerings, with a keen focus on options ideal for pairing with Erven’s modern American menu. Erven explains his cuisine as “rooted in European tradition and influenced by the melting pot that is Saint Martha’s Koreatown neighborhood.”
In addition to an optional five or seven-course Chef’s Tasting Menu, Saint Martha offers a range of à la carte items from fresh seafood and meats—prepared both cooked and “rawesome,” to farmers’ market vegetables and grains. Partner Ellen Picataggio collaborated with BAM. design lab for the restaurant’s design which features an exposed kitchen, industrial fixtures, open pantry, and original artwork alongside repurposed paintings purchased from the local Rose Bowl Flea Market.
Open for dinner six nights a week, with the kitchen serving until on Fridays and Saturdays, dishes include Pecan Wood Smoked Brisket with hoisin, tiny lettuce, and root vegetables; Santa Barbara Spot Prawn Tartare with market melons, burnt orange oil, and pink salt; and Brassicas with toasted brewer’s yeast, mushroom, and egg.
“In developing the menu, my main priority is evoking the emotional power of food and creating a sense of familiarity for my guests, while also presenting them with something they haven’t exactly experienced before,” Erven says. “We want to surprise Saint Martha’s diners by creating a juxtaposition of refined food within this little jewel box in a strip mall.”
Thompson, whose impressive résumé includes stints at Daniel Boulud’s db Bistro Moderne and Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Spice Market, oversees the beverage program, which features 50 wines by the glass, alongside a collection of Japan’s finest sakes and seasonal craft beer. Having been described as a“counterculture sommelier,” Thompson focuses on small producers, overlooked regions, and the more esoteric varietals available with a commitment to creating an approachable and engaging environment in which to explore wines. Select wines include a Nebbiolo from Virginia and Sémillon from Lebanon—to name a few. Wines will be available by the taste, glass, piché, and bottle, allowing guests to affordably sample a wide variety of wines. Thompson is also developing a wine series for the restaurant that explores more adventurous facets of the wine world, such as learning how to saber a champagne bottle or how to use a porron—a traditional Spanish wine pitcher.
The 38-seat restaurant’s inconspicuous location features an eye-catching red door, opening to an entryway with an exposed kitchen, bar seating, and a high-top table for small bites and drinks. The dining room gives way to industrial stylings, with brushed concrete and copper accents warmed up by plush, tobacco-colored, leather banquettes. The art and wall installations by Vermont artist Jesse Azarian feature original artwork alongside religious and gothic-themed paintings purchased at the Rose Bowl Flea Market, which are reimagined with quirky and unique touches like a Los Angeles Dodgers hat, tattoos on Victorian-era debutantes, and more.
Saint Martha is located on 740 S. Western Ave. between 7th and 8th Streets and will be open for dinner six nights a week: , - and - . For reservations, guests can visit Seatme.com, the Saint Martha website, or call 213.387.2300. Follow Saint Martha on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.