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740 S. Western Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Contrary to what your girlfriend would have you believe, manicures, doing her laundry and fiscal responsibility not actually aphrodisiacs. Oysters, on the other hand, have been scientifically proven to put you in the mood, making the recently opened Saint Martha your go-to destination, whether you're looking for love or just some fantastic shellfish.
Opened earlier this summer in the unlikely location of a strip mall in Koreatown, these pedestrian roots seem at odds with the humble yet elegant interior. Matching accents of brushed concrete and copper, rich leather banquettes line walls hanging with artfully defaced oil paintings. A beautiful marble bar looks into a white-bricked kitchen where spices are systematical line a shelf containing cookbooks, white plates and a unique cat sculpture.
As for the aforementioned oysters, one just has to grab a seat at the 8-seat white marble bar to enjoy them topped with American sturgeon caviar, cucumber and horseradish or tartare-d with steak, champagne sabayon and bone marrow beignets.
It's all about this transparency – from the exposed kitchen and open pantry where you can glimpse the chef preparing the day's fresh catch to the commitment to using seasonal ingredients.
It's not all about oysters either. The menu embraces tradition but introduces a bit of novelty – a style that's seen in dishes like the striped bass with heirloom tomato tartare, pickled eggplant and popcorn purée, pecan-wood smoked brisket with hoisin and tiny lettuce, and tataki-style sea urchin with whipped avocado and seaweed Doritos.
Plates of unusual ly prepared seafood should be paired with equally out-of-the-box libations. Fortunately, Saint Martha has employed Mary Thompson, a "counterculture" sommelier (of NYC's dbBistro and Spice Market) who has compiled a list of over 50 wines from underappreciated regions, small-batch producers and obscure vineyards in places like Lebanon and Slovenia. All 50 are available by the glass, plus there's also sake, soju and seasonal craft beer.
Whatever you order will definitely put you in the mood...the mood to indulge in some seriously good seafood.
By Arielle Sachar
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