With whimsical marine décor and artwork displayed among the interior’s cool blue and green hues, Herringbone allows beachgoers to revel in the seaside without the crowds of the Santa Monica Pier just a few blocks away.
On a beautiful day, the best way to experience this California coastal restaurant is with brunch on the al fresco patio.
Walking inside Herringbone’s Thomas Shoos-designed space, diners immediately notice the striking entrance offering taller than normal beautiful carved wood doors, and leafless life-size trees in large planter boxes. Hanging from the bare branches are an assortment of long spike puffer fish. This California coastal restaurant is just a couple blocks from the Santa Monica pier and beach, inspiring the interior’s whimsical marine decor and artwork displayed among pleasing blue and green hues.
The colorful mosaic tiled raw bar is a piece of art made with an array of broken and cut Mediterranean tiles. This is where the oysters are shucked and served on ice with classic mignonette and samba cocktail sauce. Behind this bar, chefs assemble seafood platters filled with oysters, Alaskan king crab, Maine lobster and jumbo shrimp. During dinner and brunch hours, diners can splurge and share an order of a dozen oysters and a bottle of wine with a loved one for $55.
Nautical rope and glass lights hang above marble top tables and metal chairs resting on wood flooring. Throughout the dining rooms are shallow fishing boat hung upside down with dropped ropes and Edison lights as functional art, similar to a sculpture one would admire in a Museum of Modern Art.
Beautiful light blue water glasses add a touch of color on the top of the white marble tables.
One wall is textured with brick and decorated with painted wooden fish hung to appear as if they are swimming in a school. It’s near the cocktail bar with an impressive skeleton of a large marine mammal suspended above.
On a beautiful day, the best way to start off brunch at Herringbone is out front on the al fresco patio. Brunch goers can get into the seaside spirit sipping rose’ wine all day while enjoying lobster rolls filled with Maine Lobster and a squeeze of lemon.
Seeking something sweet, we started with chef Ashley’s oversized cinnamon bun. It’s large and sticky from the caramelized cinnamon and sugar swirl, and mountain swirl of cream cheese frosting on top. Another sweet starter we enjoyed was the moist banana bread topped with hazelnut streusel crumble. It arrived on a plate with three slices surrounded with a handful of bright red and purple berries and dollop of cream cheese frosting.
The General Manager Ricky Ortega visited guests around the room to make sure everyone is pleased with the service and food. He introduced himself and encouraged us to order some of the savory dishes including chilaquiles smothered in a ranchero sauce. If you like spicy, this dish will please your senses, however I found it offered too much heat for my liking. The “Smoked Salmon Benny” is a twist on a traditional Eggs Benedict. Presented on a regular English muffin, it’s topped with ribbons of thinly sliced salmon, and a watercress, chimichurri and hollandaise sauce. The sauce was a tad too salty on the day we dined.
Brunch toast includes stone crab and avocado decorated with watermelon radish, a fried egg, arugula leaves and sprinkle of Meyer lemon vinaigrette. I enjoyed the fresh red tuna poke topped with chopped macadamia nuts, sliced red onions, a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a handful of arugula leaves. It’s served with crunchy black and white nori chips for scooping.
Feeling fortified we finished brunch and hopped on two electric scooters parked out front of Herringbone to explore neighborhoods near the beach in Santa Monica.
Brunch is served on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dinner begins daily at 5 p.m. 1755 Ocean Ave. (310)971-4460.
This review was featured in the Nov. 8, 2018 issue of the Beverly Press.