Saturday, January 28, 2017

Erven Gives Los Angeles Its Best New Vegan Restaurant

I've always enjoyed Chef Nick Erven's cooking from his previous restaurant, the now-shuttered Saint Martha. I wasn't expecting him to open a vegan restaurant in Santa Monica, but I looked forward to it just the same, especially after hearing all the glowing reviews!

Erven is divided into two parts: the Marketplace side which serves sandwiches, cookies, juices, and such. Then there's the dining room which is open for a casual lunch, but the highlight is of course, the dinner service (although the vegan sandwiches are also great).

We started with a bowl complimentary fried chickpeas - the amuse bouche seems to rotate based on the other reviews.
The savory portion of the dinner menu is divided into "Snackables", "Shareables", and "Principles".
We tried a couple of the snacks including the Black garlic chickpea fritters with yuzu and Aleppo pepper ($5)
The chickpea fritter is a good way to start and gives you an idea of Chef Erven's cooking.

Purple sweet potato rice roll with avocado and Korean chili ($5)
Vegan kimbap, anyone?

From the Shareables section: Tiny Beets with avocado mousse, curry-almond streusel, and cilantro ($12)
The beets weren't really "tiny" but regardless this was a wonderful and interesting take on beets, with the crispiness of the streusel, combined with avocado mousse.

Hearts of romaine with dill-tofu ranch dressing, kohlrabi, poppyseed "persillade" ($11)
From the "Principles", we tried the Farro and black eyed peas, braised greens, shishito, preserved tomato and onion jus ($21)
This was really a healthy, comforting bowl of grain and vegetables in a delicious broth! Really, I wouldn't mind eating healthy and vegan all the time if I can have this. I'd have a hard time choosing between the farro and the next dish, though.

Kale cavatelli with squash, hen of the wood mushrooms, pear, and tom yum gravy ($21)
What an interesting "pasta" ... yes, the texture of the kale cavatelli was nice, but it was the combination of flavors that was so surprising. It may look like a bowl of pasta with squash, but the sourness of the tom yum gravy was entirely unexpected yet delightful. I'll definitely order this again and so should you.

From dining at Saint Martha, I knew I couldn't pass up dessert at Erven. This time I tried the Black sesame cake with passionfruit custard, cilantro sorbet, and coconut meringue ($8)
I love both black sesame and passionfruit, but not until now did I know the two work well together. Both the cake and custard are quite rich, but the cilantro sorbet kept the dessert refreshing.

Erven certainly met my high expectations, and despite not being a vegan, I didn't miss the meat during this dinner (although I'd still be happy if Chef Erven decides to open a omnivorous restaurant again). There's been quite a number of plant-focused restaurants opening up in Los Angeles recently, but Erven is certainly one of the city's best! Whether you are vegan or not, his creative cooking is certainly worth checking out.

514-516 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Erven Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Gourmet Pigs   © 2008. Template Recipes by Emporium Digital