Last year, we were fairly bewitched by the cooking of Nick Erven at Saint Martha in Koreatown. In September, when the restaurant closed, there was no word what Erven's plans were. At first Saint Martha was supposedly closed temporarily, but in the months since, ithas become clear that's not the case. Eater reported in December that a quick-service concept was coming from some of the Saint Martha players, though in a different location.
Today the news comes that Erven, at least, has moved on to Fundamental L.A., the well-regarded 4-year-old Westwood restaurant owned by Faust and Woogene Lee. A press release says that Erven's menu seeks to be "approachable and craveable." This is possibly a departure from his cooking at Saint Martha, which was fairly avant-garde, with menu items such as "Doritos" made from seaweed with uni mousse.
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The press release gives us a peek into Erven's new menu: sautéed mushroom toast with bone marrow butter; sunny-side egg and herbs; whole trout with cauliflower, kale malfatti and black butter; and a double-stack, half-pound burger with caramelized onions, American cheese, bread & butter pickles, Thousand Island and fried fingerlings.
Erven isn't new to cooking more comforting modern American food — it's exactly the style he brought to the kitchens of Messhall and Tart at the Farmer’s Daughter Hotel when he was working at those places.
Whatever the cooking style, it's nice to see a talented chef land at a restaurant that deserves more attention.