All summer long, cocktail-loving Westsiders have been eagerly anticipating Brilliantshine, the new spot from prolific mixology masters Julian Cox and Josh Goldman, and it's finally here.
On Tuesday, Aug. 19, the watering hole will officially open its doors in the Santa Monica courtyard behind Tinga, former home of the popular Renee's Courtyard Cafe. Inspired by Cox's international travels, the spot will feature food and drinks inspired by everywhere from London and Tokyo to Peru and Martinique, in what the owners are calling a "rustic, coastal saloon."
The drinks list hasn't been released yet, but it promises a mix of familiar and forgotten classics, some given modern twists and others made the old-school way. (Case in point: a Scotch cocktail made with Auchentoshan Single Malt, lemon, apple and cinnamon, topped with ginger air.) There also will be a nice selection of craft spirits, sherries and other fortified wines, and California beers.
Running the kitchen will be Richie Lopez, a native of Lima, Peru, who's a veteran of Mo-Chica, Test Kitchen, Sotto and Picca. Lopez most recently served as executive chef at Paiche, chef Ricardo Zarate's high-end Peruvian spot in Marina del Rey, which also featured cocktails from Cox.
As a bartender-driven restaurant, Brilliantshine's food is designed to complement the cocktails rather than the other way around. Lopez's Peruvian background will figure into the dishes, but the place is anything but a Peruvian restaurant: Options include red snapper with citrus-soy sauce, peaches and yuzukosho; sea urchin rice with lobster and uni oil; and a pork belly-beet hash topped with a poached egg.
Brilliantshine is the flagship (and will serve as R&D hub) for Soigné Group, Cox and Goldman's 2-year-old partnership, which has created beverage programs for Circa in Manhattan Beach, Acabar in Hollywood and Belcampo Meat Co. in Santa Monica.
Both partners are legends in the local drinks world: Cox got his start with David Myers at Sona and Comme Ça, and has created food-friendly craft cocktail lists for dozens of restaurants around town, including Bestia, Petty Cash Taqueria and Test Kitchen. His bar programs have been James Beard Award semifinalists three times, including twice at downtown's Rivera.
Goldman is a trained sommelier but has become well-known for restaurant management as well, serving as both general manager and beverage director for the opening of Michael Voltaggio's ink. and working the front-of-house under Walter Manzke at both Bastide and Church & State.
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The patio will definitely be a major highlight at Brilliantshine: 20 of the small spot's 46 seats will be outside. It's going for a vintage look throughout, with old-timey saloon doors at the entrance, copper-topped tables and an antique piano in the dining room.
Brilliantshine will be open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Tuesday through Sunday, with dinner served until 11 p.m. and a late-night menu available until 1 a.m. There's also a weekend brunch from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.