Studies in Chocolate
You have tasted pea soup, I’m pretty sure of that. You may have tasted fresh pea soup lightened with mascarpone. But I suspect you have never tasted the pea soup on the menu at the new Santa Monica restaurant Abode, which is dotted with clots of the extra-creamy Italian cheese and spiked with unsweetened coco nibs, which make the soup taste like, I don’t know, chocolate-covered peas. This may be a brave new wind in local cuisine, but I suspect that it may not lift every sail. Abode is a place where the neo-Balinese decorations are wrought from recycled wood, the menu pays service to farmers-market produce, the charcuterie (at least the pork rillettes) is house-made, and the $300 specialty martini is garnished with a gargantuan Tahitian pearl. Chef Dominique Crenn has worked everywhere from the Jakarta InterContinental to the Manhattan Beach Country Club. There is a foie gras tasting and pork “osso buco” with dried fruit, a “study in chocolate” for dessert — and a bill at the end of the evening that is as terrifying and exotic as the chocolatey pea soup. 1541 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, ?(310) 394-3463.
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