Manhattan on the West Coast

Craving Columbus Avenue? Missing Manhattan? Upper West brings diners back to the New York lofty feel of the Upper West Side. Hands-on owner, Elad Beniste, has a winner here! Chef Nick Shipp serves up modern comfort food. At 15, Shipp began his cooking career in Texas. After cooking with Wolfgang Puck and a stint at Pete's Cafe (DTLA), Executive Chef Shipp offers an exciting menu at Upper West. We love the dinner menu. Start off with a signature cocktail. The Raspberry Mojito ($10) is muddled mint and lime mixed with Bacardi Oak Heart Spiced Rum and fresh raspberry puree. The Cucumber Martini ($10) is refreshing Bombay gin, cucumber, and mint. There is also an extensive beer and wine list, but the signature cocktails are something else! Thai Peanut Noodles ($11) are some of the best we've tasted. Chilled ramen, peanut dressing, green onions, and marinated cucmber compose this tasty appetizer. The Crispy Glazed Chicken ($13) is served Hunan-style with pickled fennel and mango. Get an order of Blue Chips ($7) too. Housemade potato chips are served with a smoked bacon blue cheese sauce for dipping. Warning: Chips are addicting! Ethan's Mac & Cheese ($14) is stellar! Tender macaroni shells are covered in asiago cheese, goat cheese, white cheddar, mozzarella, tarragon, tasso ham, and parmesan. For dinner try the Pan Roasted Filet Mignon ($30). Filet is roasted in garlic-smoked bacon then served with whipped potatoes, a red onion-jalepeno relish, and maderia sauce. You'll be too full to finish it, but finish it, you will! Chicken Tawook ($17) is well priced and hearty. Tender chicken breast is marinated in yogurt, lemon, and spices and served kabob style. Chana Masala (chick pea stew), mango, herbs, tomato, and red-pepper relish complete the dish. Of course I wouldn't miss the Grilled Cheese Sandwich ($14). Imagine sharp cheddar, goat cheese, blue cheese, caramelized onions, served on Buttery brioche bread. Add to that housemade potato chips and a shot of tomato soup and you have the perfect winter's dinner. The Burger is a house-ground specialty. Arugula, pasilla goat cheese spread, and balsamic- Walla Walla onion marmalade top it off. Fries accompany the brioche burger. One of the best sides at Upper West is the unique Roasted Sweet Corn ($7). Avocado butter and cotija cheese are the co-stars of this amazing dish. Order two-it's that good. For dessert try the Brioche Bread Pudding ($8) made with rye whiskey, caramel sauce, creme anglaise, local strawberries, and raisin puree. Or opt for one of the Chef's Selection ice cream cones! ($3.50) We adore the extremely diverse, eclectic menu, enjoy the excellent service, and look forward to the classic movies played on the covered front patio. Upper West 3321 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. (310) 586-1111

 

Recommended Dishes: Thai Peanut Noodles, Crispy Glazed Chicken, Ethan's Mac & Cheese, Pan Roasted Filet Mignon, Grilled Cheese, Roasted Sweet Corn.

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