Thursday, September 26, 2013

CAST: The Reinvented Restaurant at Viceroy Santa Monica

Whist at The Viceroy in Santa Monica has reinvented itself as CAST, but Chef Tony DiSalvo is still going strong in the kitchen. The new name, CAST, draws focus to its proximity to the ocean and the seafood dishes.

Pay attention to the crostini section, and don't miss the sea urchin crostini with sea salt, lemon, and larda ($6 each). Perfectly creamy, and the light dressing of salt and lemon brings out the rich flavors even more.

Equally worthy but less of a splurge is the burrata crostini with pesto, tomato ($3 each). This was also one of the creamiest burrata I've had in LA.
The crostinis are thin, meant to serve as a vessel to the uni and burrata without masking the flavors.
Oh, if you are on Instagram, be sure to take a photo and tag @viceroySM. You will get a free glass of sparkling wine for doing so! For a glass of white wine that will go with seafood dishes, we enjoyed the 2010 Supernatural Sauvignon Blanc, Napa, California ($13).

It's not all seafood here, of course. Chef DiSalvo kept his famous Lamb Kefta meatballs because riots might break out if he ever takes it off the menu. At the moment they are served with orange, pistachio, and yogurt ($10)

We started our feast with the Diver scallops, dungeness crab risotto, snap peas, shiso vinaigrette ($18 or $33 for full size - I believe the one pictured is the half size)
Perfectly cooked scallops, creamy risotto with chunks of sweet crab, crisp snap peas. What a nice seafood dish, the flavors are light yet satisfying.
New Caledonian blue prawns, bulgur wheat, tomatoes, cucumber and melon ($17)
I don't see bulgur wheat used that often and it came out nicely in this dish, mixed with the freshness of the cucumber and melon cubes.

We moved on to the heavier dishes with Chinese spiced fried quail, lime soy chile dipping sauce ($15)
Chinese spices and chile dipping sauce may sound too much, but not so. The spices are used with restraint.

Don't miss: Potato gnocchi, asparagus, morels ($19)
Quite possibly the best gnocchi we've had in recent memory. So creamy yet light and fluffy, I could eat this all night. Oh, wait, I did.

The chef sent out another course of Maine lobster, corn, chanterelles, lemongrass, coconut ($23 or $42 for a full size)
Basically this was everything I love, in one dish! Both the lobster and corn were so sweet, and perfect with the aromas of lemongrass and coconut.

Five spice roasted Kurobuta pork, cherries, farro and spring onions ($19 or $32 for a full size)
I liked the spices used and the cherries as accompaniment, but thought the pork could be more tender.

As if we weren't full enough, they brought out a whole board of scrumptious desserts.
Here are my two favorites: the goat cheese mousse with tangerines ..
... and the rich peanut butter topped with fresh cherries

I'm not too sure why they felt the need to change the name, but regardless, Chef Tony's food from the delicate seafood to the creamy gnocchi are still worth coming for, and Santa Monica is the appropriate backdrop for it.

IMG_7133Cast at Viceroy Santa Monica
1819 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 260-7511
Cast at Viceroy Santa Monica on Urbanspoon


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