Upper West a Santa Monica Bistro

Walking into the Upper West restaurant off Pico Blvd., I admired the colorful paintings by French artist Humbert Curcuru. One of the owners of the restaurant, Mr. Fred, explained to me that the “Art Vault” on the walls of his restaurant, rotates a new artist every three months. “We hold an opening reception for the featured artist with light appetizers and wine,” he said.

Due to the restaurant’s proximity of multiple production companies, a few producers from the hit television show, “Mad Men”, came into the restaurant recently, enjoyed a meal and purchased a few of Curcuru’s pieces for the show.

Chef Nick Shipp recently hosted a special multi-course dinner to benefit the Junior Blind of America. The restaurant donated 100 percent of the proceeds to organization. Visually impaired since birth, this creative chef invited young chefs with little vision to help him make a multi-course dinner for 45 diners.

The restaurant has a New York-style feel with its soaring 28-foot ceiling and urban casual décor. It’s more of a modern American bistro, than a gastropub. “We have all ages dine here,” Fred said. “Early Saturday evenings we attract a mature crowd. By 7 p.m. the age is 40-something. By 8:30 p.m. a younger crowd come in for drinks and comfort food.”

Upper West teams up with the nearby McCabe’s Guitar Center. Before or after a concert at McCabe’s, Upper West offers a free glass of wine or discount on a meal when a diner shows his ticket stub. Upper West offers the same deal for theatre patrons seeing a production at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre and The Broad Stage.

Fred supports the organization, Run for Her, a non-profit organization started by a mom battling ovarian cancer for 10 years. When the organization holds a cocktail party at Upper West, a percentage of the sales goes towards their cause.

The kitchen is run by Chef Shipp and sous chef Angel Rodriguez. To start, we tried the roasted corn soup, offered on the lunch and dinner menu. Adorned with bright orange sumac oil and a black bean falafel, the smooth soup is an ideal starter during the autumn and winter months.

Read the rest of my review by clicking on http://parklabreanewsbeverlypress.com/news/2012/10/upper-west-a-santa-monica-bistro/. Courtesy of the Beverly Press. Published on Oct. 18, 2012

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