No. 21: Tar & Roses

Santa Monica

Andrew Kirschner worked at Arnold Wong’s Eos in San Francisco and Joe Miller’s namesake in Venice before going solo with Tar & Roses, a laid-back restaurant that combines creativity and smarts. Bruschetta toppings are updated on a blackboard, and, really, who’s going to argue that a chili crab cake hardly belongs on a Cal-Med menu? Wood-fired flavor is the animating spirit of these small plates. With advance notice, the kitchen can cook a standing rib roast or even an entire goat, but none is needed for the whole fried snapper. Order the oven-roasted peaches as the coda to a meal.  

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