The Exceptional Erven in SaMo

Up until a decade or so ago it was easier to smoke in your doctors office than to find a really great, reasonably priced meal in Santa Monica. For real big spenders there were options - Michael’s, Giogio Baldi, Capo, Melisse, Chinois, Josie - but after that, you pretty much dropped down to Gilbert’s, Googies or Hot Dog on A Stick. Then, following the Venice food explosion, along came the Huckleberry-Rustic-Milo empire, Tar & Roses, Belcampo, SMYC, Cassia, Farmshop and others in SaMo.

And now comes the exceptional Erven - in the Real Food Daily space with chef Nick Ervin (late of St. Martha, fundamental).
WOW. I was kind of blown away at how great the meal was. What a fantastic addition.
I don’t think Fred Flintstone wouldn’t mind the lack of meat at all.
In addition to the terrific food, the wine and beer selections are fascinating, well-curated and delicious.

Crazy, yummy Donut Holes with Smoky Apple Sauce and Sauerkraut (sounds crazy but the taste was totally unique and for me, mind blowing)

Donut Hole - Outside

Donut Hole - Inside

Sunchokes with Catalan-Style ketchup

Small Plates
Guac with Seaweed Doritos, togarashi

Roasted Carrots with coconut (sorbet, maybe), crispy lentil, Thai herbs and tamarind

Main Plate
Farro and Black Eyed pea Hot-Pot with braised greens, shishito, preserved tomato and onion jus - really hard to stop eating this amazing concoction.


Fuzz. Looks great. Nice report.

1 Like

Nice report CB. Is this a set of courses? And will the “No Catalan-Style ketchup on sunchokes” trolls climb out from under their el puente/pont? :wink:

Nope - this report is just what we selected - whole menu below.

1 Like

E.: “Do they have anything hearty?”

Me: “Yes! Beer-battered tofu sandwich, you’ll love it.” :wink:

Sauerkraut and apples is a pretty classic pairing. The donut part, not so much. And I’d love to try the seafood Doritos. Vegan stoner food, bring it on, babe


My wife and I have eaten here over 2 dozen times since it opened. We have never had a bad meal. Chef Erven is making the most delicious, creative, accessible plant based food I have had. So glad it is in walking distance. If you are there for lunch, don’t miss the eggplant toast.


fwiw, the “day” menu offers
3 excellent, delicate, perfectly balanced soups.

these soups are NOT for folks who need an oil slick atop a highly-salted jumble of strong flavors in order to be happy.

refined is the word that comes to mind.
cooking with finesse.

1 Like

Just wanted to write quickly that partner and I went last night for the first time and really enjoyed it it. Completely agree that you won’t notice the lack of meat or dairy AT ALL. Well worth a visit (esp if you’re in the neighborhood). The food is playful, innovative (IMHO), and, most importantly, it simply tastes good. Service is excellent.

Will post more pics and details later.


Man you need to invest in a camera, you eat at this place twice a week?? You should have their whole menu photographed! =P

The guilt, the guilt. It’s good I’ll be able to atone for my lack of photography sins next week😊

Have you seen your own pictures? Lol


I don’t take pictures of my food very often. It makes me feel phony and pretension, like I’m a Yelper and I want everyone to notice so that I get better treatment. Or something like that.

But I really like everyone else’s food photos a lot!.

1 Like

What’s wrong with them?

They look like they were taken using an iPhone 3s with the “dark as fuck” filter applied.


I eat late at night pretty often.

They have a solution for that, it’s called better quality cameras. :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah, definitely, a high-quality camera is going to magically produce daylight conditions in a dimly lit restaurant.

I think bringing professional photo equipment including a full fucking lighting setup just to photograph your dinner in daylight conditions crosses the line into absurdity for some food pictures…

1 Like

bringing professional photo equipment including a full fucking lighting setup just to photograph your dinner in daylight conditions

That would be great. Thanks!

1 Like

Tech note (I’m usually a luddite, but I do know this): Many unobstrusive, portable (read: fits in one hand) cameras nowadays have really excellent ISO ranges which DO digitally create better-than-ambient light conditions for exactly those dark, dimly lit dining room situations.


Luddite - driving now - I’ll pitch down an extra one tonight.