Passing it Over on Passover

Mare Santa Monica

If you're a fan of Eric Greenspan like I am, you'll be thrilled to have dinner at his new digs, Mare, on 5th and Santa Monica. The restaurant has a very beautiful Mediterranean look, replacing JiRaffe as a new hot spot! The cocktail and wine list is impressive and the dinner menu promises some delightful surprises. We enjoyed the Arugula Salad ($12) with red onion, cherry tomatoes, dates and capers. Dressing was light and refreshing. We devoured the Crudo of Tuna ($17) with pickled strawberries, red onion, arugula, pink peppercorn, and saffron. Salt Roasted Potatoes ($9) were dressed in an aioli sauce and went perfectly with the Skirt Steak ($19). We loved the sea urchin butter and the chimichurri too! We also enjoyed the Branzino (which they will filet for you, just ask) with fig pomegranate glaze. The Shellfish is a make-it-yourself project. We had shrimp, but you can choose from black mussels or clams too. You choose your own broth (leek and white wine, tomato fennel, pistou {garlic, basil, and olive oil}, spicy sausage romesco, or vadouvan {indian curry blend with garlic and shallots} curry and green apple). The pistou was wonderful. A dish of perfectly cooked pasta accompanies the shrimp' so does a soft-boiled egg. Break the egg into the pasta for a rich sort of carbonara. Oh, did I mention the bread? Sourdough loaf gets a total make over as its covered with all kinds of seeds. We had a few loaves! For a romantic evening without pretension try Mare. Get in while you can! Mare 502 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica (310) 917-6671. Open for dinner Mon-Sun 5pm-11pm. Be sure to check hours as this is the time for the Melrose location.

Recommended Dishes: Potatoes, branzino, shellfish, skirt steak, arugula salad, tuna crudo.

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