When I mention to someone for the first time that I’m a food blogger, there’s about a 99% chance they’re about to ask me “What’s your favorite restaurant in L.A.?” The truth is, that’s a hard question to answer. I usually say “That depends on what you want to eat…”
Well, now I can confidently tell people my favorite restaurant in L.A. is Saint Martha in Koreatown. They invited us to come check out Chef Nick Erven’s playful modern American creations which push the limits and take your taste buds to places they’ve only dreamt about.
Octopus with Koshihikari rice, sauce nero, lardo, and espelette
Saint Martha is the patron saint of cooks and servants (hence their hashtag #cooksandservants) and she’s clearly looking over Erven’s shoulder as he invents masterpieces for your mouth with surprising textures and inventive flavor combinations.
One of our favorites was the Striped Bass. When we saw on the menu that it was served with Buttered Popcorn Purée, images of Jelly Belly flashed in my head. However, not only was the purée tasty on its own, but all the flavors together worked in a way that my mouth has never experienced before.
Striped bass with heirloom tomato tartare, pickled eggplant, and popcorn purée
Saint Martha’s also offers a special collection of 50 different wines curated by sommelier Mary Thompson. She has pairings ready for every dish and big kudos to her, because each one we tried managed to be a great compliment to the interesting new flavors on display.
Our favorite meaty dish is the Pecan Wood Smoked Brisket. It’s succulently tender and its smoky flavor melds just perfectly with the hoisin sauce. It’s unexpected, fun, and just damn delicious—a description befitting almost everything we had!
Pecan wood smoked brisket with hoisin, tiny lettuce, and root vegetables
The presentation of the delicious Lightly Smoked Salmon is a real treat, you’ll just have to see (and smell) it for yourself!
Lightly smoked salmon with watercress-yogurt emulsion, pickled cippolini, and brioche
We really enjoyed the Steak and Oyster Tartare. The bone marrow beignets are so fluffy and decadent they literally burst with butter upon biting. It’s a really great combination that will leave you craving for more.
Steak and oyster tartare with champagne sabayon and bone marrow beignets
Our favorite dessert of the evening was the PB&J Remixed, an ice-creamy twist on a childhood favorite. The chocolate-covered grapes are so delicious, we were surprised we hadn’t ever had them before. So brilliant.
PB&J Remixed w/peanut butter ganache, roasted grape ice cream, griddled pound cake, chocolate feuilletine, and chocolate-covered grapes.
Saint Martha is one of a kind. When you walk through their red door in the humble strip mall along the bustle of Western Boulevard, you enter another world. It’s a place that feels familiar, but yet is totally new. It’s down to earth, but cultivated and sophisticated; fancy and casual at the same time (possibly due to the Dodger cap Chef Nick is sporting in the open kitchen). One can only imagine the amount of experimentation it must have taken to come up with the seemingly-random-until-it’s-in-your-mouth combos on display here. It’s everything we love about food in L.A. Saint Martha may not be a church, but their food may just qualify as a religious experience.
740 S. Western Blvd, Los Angeles , CA 90005
Tuesday - Sunday 5 PM until 11 PM
Reserve a Table or call 213-387-2300
Lisa & Ben Waters beat the Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World video game once, so they got that going for them. Which is nice.