The Misfit, Santa Monica
Everything seems larger in California and that’s the feeling one gets from walking into The Misfit Bar. The décor is ultra French posh with overly large dark woodwork, Parisian street light lamps, colourful mosaic floor tiles and an oversized, silver bar, imported from Paris. Its weight is not out of proportion to the towering 24-foot library bar that hosts an antique book library on the top layers and wine and liquors on the bottom. It’s probably the last place you’d expect to find classic California cuisine but manager Jackie McGuire explains that’s why it’s called Misfits.
Executive Chef Jordan Lynn walks from the farmers market in the block behind the restaurant with his arms laden with bags and boxes of fresh produce. He changes his menu every 2 to 3 days, depending on how long his supplies last and they usually don’t last long.
I had the organic grilled artichoke with gremolata aioli ($12). It came sliced lengthwise in half and char grilled. If you’ve ever eaten artichoke you know how much of a conversation finger food it is. Each leaf must be dunked in the aioli and then run across your bottom teeth to extract the soft flesh. It takes time. The flesh is meaty and smoky, the aioli is refreshing and spicy – oh, yum!
Next was the Shredded Kale and Quinoa Salad with suflower seeds, grapes, preserved lemon, manchego and parmesan cheese ($10). In this dish chef Lynn brines the kale to remove the bitterness and the result is a delicious dance of flavours with the other ingredients.
I seem to be having a love affair with Los Angeles ribs so I order the lean Danish Pork, Korean barbecue style ($16). The rack is cut in half so I begin to pull apart the ribs. The juicy meat offers no resistance when I pull and it literally melts in my mouth with soft spicy tones. With the cheque comes a little platter of mini chocolate chip cookies dressed with coarse sea salt. They’re soft and chewy, chocolaty and salty.