This week's restaurant review considers M.A.K.E., the raw, vegan restaurant in Santa Monica Place owned by raw food guru Matthew Kenney. We hope you'll take the time to read the full review, but offer this for the time-addled among you.
Food: As far as raw and vegan food goes, this is some of the most creative and even decadent stuff out there. Matthew Kenney is known as somewhat of a magician of raw food, and for good reason. Dumplings are encased in wrappings made from cilantro and coconut; lasagna is a layered flavor bomb of thinly sliced zucchini, fresh marinara, pesto, and “ricotta” made from nuts and nutritional yeast. It's possible to have your palate worn out from so much tangy, raw material, but it's a fun ride nonetheless.
Drinks: A short wine list offers an eclectic assortment of mainly domestic wines. There are also wine cocktails, if you want a hit of fresh kale juice with your booze. Smoothies and fresh juice options are also available.
Service: Eager. From the review: “… waiters and managers seem almost surprised and delighted when you show up and sit down. 'How did you hear about us?' they ask, excitedly. As far as service goes, in fact, the whole operation is an exercise in enthusiasm. The staff seems to recognize that for most customers, this meal is likely about novelty.”
Location: In the Marketplace at Santa Monica Place, an oddly dowdy spot atop a mall. From the review: “M.A.K.E. has done a decent job of transforming its corner of the space into a green oasis, with soothing wooden walls and tables, and plenty of plant-life accents. You get the feeling that if this restaurant were on street level, it would be packed. As it stands, business is slow …”
Takeaway: There's no doubt there are some oddities here, some textural fails, a couple of dishes that simply taste too raw. But there's also a lot of incredibly delicious food. From the review: “As a novelty, or a treat that's far healthier than much of what's out there in the dining world, M.A.K.E. displays the inventive and often delicious potential of raw food.”
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